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2024 California Rules of Court

Rule 8.928. Contents and form of briefs

(a) Contents

(1)  Each brief must:

(A)  State each point under a separate heading or subheading summarizing the point and support each point by argument and, if possible, by citation of authority; and

(B)  Support any reference to a matter in the record by a citation to the volume and page number of the record where the matter appears.

(2)  An appellant's opening brief must:

(A)  State the nature of the action, the relief sought in the trial court, and the judgment or order appealed from;

(B)  State that the judgment appealed from is final or explain why the order appealed from is appealable; and

(C)  Provide a summary of the significant facts limited to matters in the record.

(b) Length

(1)  A brief produced on a computer must not exceed 5,100 words, including footnotes. Such a brief must include a certificate by appellate counsel or an unrepresented party stating the number of words in the brief. The person certifying may rely on the word count of the computer program used to prepare the brief.

(2)  A brief produced on a typewriter must not exceed 15 pages.

(3)  The information listed on the cover, any table of contents or table of authorities, the certificate under (1), and any signature block are excluded from the limits stated in (1) or (2).

(4)  On application, the presiding judge may permit a longer brief for good cause. A lengthy record or numerous or complex issues on appeal will ordinarily constitute good cause.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2013; previously amended effective January 1, 2011.)

(c) Form

(1)  A brief may be reproduced by any process that produces a clear, black image of letter quality. All documents filed must have a page size of 8 1/2 by 11 inches. If filed in paper form, the paper must be white or unbleached and of at least 20-pound weight. Both sides of the paper may be used if the brief is not bound at the top.

(2)  Any conventional font may be used. The font may be either proportionally spaced or monospaced.

(3)  The font style must be roman; but for emphasis, italics or boldface may be used or the text may be underscored. Case names must be italicized or underscored. Headings may be in uppercase letters.

(4)  Except as provided in (11), the font size, including footnotes, must not be smaller than 13-point.

(5)  The lines of text must be unnumbered and at least one-and-a-half-spaced. Headings and footnotes may be single-spaced. Quotations may be block-indented and single-spaced. Single-spaced means six lines to a vertical inch.

(6)  The margins must be at least 11/2 inches on the left and right and 1 inch on the top and bottom.

(7)  The pages must be consecutively numbered.

(8)  The cover-or first page if there is no cover-must include the information required by rule 8.816(a)(1).

(9)  If filed in paper form, the brief must be bound on the left margin, except that briefs may be bound at the top if required by a local rule of the appellate division. If the brief is stapled, the bound edge and staples must be covered with tape.

(10)  The brief need not be signed.

(11)  If the brief is produced on a typewriter:

(A)  A typewritten original and carbon copies may be filed only with the presiding justice's permission, which will ordinarily be given only to unrepresented parties proceeding in forma pauperis. All other typewritten briefs must be filed as photocopies.

(B)  Both sides of the paper may be used if a photocopy is filed; only one side may be used if a typewritten original and carbon copies are filed.

(C)  The type size, including footnotes, must not be smaller than standard pica, 10 characters per inch. Unrepresented incarcerated litigants may use elite type, 12 characters per inch, if they lack access to a typewriter with larger characters.

(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2016; previously amended effective January 1, 2013, and March 1, 2014.)

(d) Noncomplying briefs

If a brief does not comply with this rule:

(1)  The reviewing court clerk may decline to file it, but must mark it "received but not filed" and return it to the party; or

(2)  If the brief is filed, the presiding judge may with or without notice:

(A)  Order the brief returned for corrections and refiling within a specified time;

(B)  Strike the brief with leave to file a new brief within a specified time; or

(C)  Disregard the noncompliance.

Rule 8.928 amended effective January 1, 2016; adopted effective January 1, 2009; previously amended effective January 1, 2011, January 1, 2013, and March 1, 2014.

Advisory Committee Comment

Subdivision (b). Subdivision (b)(1) states the maximum permissible lengths of briefs produced on a computer in terms of word count rather than page count. This provision tracks a provision in rule 8.204(c) governing Court of Appeal briefs and is explained in the comment to that provision. Subdivision (b)(3) specifies certain items that are not counted toward the maximum brief length. Signature blocks, as referenced in this provision include not only the signatures, but also the printed names, titles, and affiliations of any attorneys filing or joining in the brief, which may accompany the signature.

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