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General Information about appeal briefs and due dates

What is an appeal brief?

An appeal brief is a written document where the parties explain to the Supreme Court why the Superior Court made a mistake or decided the case correctly. There are 3 briefs filed during the appeal process:

  1. the appellant's opening brief
  2. the appellee's brief
  3. the appellant's reply brief.

How are the three appeal briefs different?

The appellant's opening brief tells the Supreme Court:

The appellee's brief responds to each issue raised in the appellant's opening brief. It shows why the appellant's arguments are wrong and shows support for the Superior Court's decision.

The appellant's reply brief discusses the arguments raised in the appellee's brief. It shows how the appellee does not overcome the arguments made in the appellant's opening brief. The appellant cannot raise any new issues in the reply brief.

What is the order that the briefs are written and filed?

The appellant's opening brief is filed first.
The appellee's brief is filed second.
The appellant's reply brief is filed third.

When is the appellant's opening brief due?

After the Superior Court record is ready and the parties file any transcripts, the case manager will send the appellant a notice to file the opening brief. The appellant usually has 30 days from the date of the notice to file the opening brief with the Supreme Court and serve the appellee (or their attorney). If your case is expedited under Appellate Rule 218 or another rule, there may be a different timeline.

When is the appellee's brief due?

Usually the appellee's brief is due:

If there is a different schedule for the appellee's brief because the appellant's brief was rejected, the case manager will send a notice. If your case is expedited under Appellate Rule 218 or another rule, there may be a different timeline. Remember to serve the other side (or their attorney) by the same date that you are required to file the brief.

When is the appellant's reply brief due?

Once the appellee's brief is accepted, the case manager will send a notice to the parties that the appellant has 20 days to file a reply brief in the Supreme Court and serve the appellee (or their attorney). If your case is expedited under Appellate Rule 218 or another rule, there may be a different timeline.

How should you refer to the other side in the briefs and at oral argument?

You can use the actual names of the parties, unless it is a confidential proceeding like a Child In Need of Aid (CINA) case. You can also use a descriptive term such as "the employee" or the "injured person." You should minimize calling the parties "appellant" or "appellee." You can use the same designation that was used in the Superior Court or agency proceeding.

Do you need to provide support for information in the briefs?

Yes. You must follow every factual statement that you make in your brief with a citation to the Superior Court record, excerpt of record, or the transcript from a Superior Court hearing or trial. This is required by Appellate Rule 212(c)(8) so that the justices can understand whether a factual assertion is accurate. If you do not provide supporting cites for every factual statement, it is harder for the Supreme Court to fairly consider the issues you raise. Most important, failure to provide citations can result in the Supreme Court not considering your legal argument.

So for example, if you say in your brief, "The parties were married in 1999," you must provide a citation to either the record, the excerpt of record, or the transcript to support that statement.

How do you cite to the record?

You can cite to the Superior Court record to support a factual statement in a brief. The record is the actual file of all documents from the Superior Court. The pages of the record are numbered and the record is usually located in the appellate clerk's office in Anchorage where you can review it (call your case manager to make sure where it is before going to look at it). You may cite to the record's page numbers to support your factual assertions.

For example, your brief would state: "The parties were married in 1999." (R. 23). (R. 23) means that on page 23 of the Superior Court record, there is a document that supports the statement the parties were married in 1999. Page 23 may be a copy of the marriage license or an affidavit filed in the Superior Court where one of the parties stated they were married in 1999.

How do you cite to the excerpt of record?

You may also cite to the excerpt of record filed by either party to support a factual statement in a brief. Remember, the excerpt may contain only copies of documents that are found in the Superior Court record. You cannot add documents that the Superior Court did not have in making its decision that is now being appealed.

For example, your brief would state: "The parties were married in 1999." (Exc. 41). (Exc. 41) means that on page 41 of the excerpt of record, there is a document that supports the statement the parties were married in 1999. Page 41 may be a copy of the marriage license or an affidavit filed in the Superior Court where one of the parties stated they were married in 1999.

How do you cite to the transcript?

You may cite to the transcript filed by either party to support a factual statement in a brief. For example, your brief would state: "The parties were married in 1999." (Tr. 12). (Tr. 12) means that page 12 of the transcript contains the testimony that supports the statement the parties were married in 1999. Page 12 may be testimony from the divorce trial where the wife stated she married the husband in 1999.

How do you cite to a CD that isn't transcribed?

You may cite to the electronic record on a CD filed by either party to support a factual statement in a brief. For example, your brief would state: "The parties were married in 1999." (CD 4FA1234-32 at Time 10:50:29 AM). "CD 4FA1234-32" is the number assigned to the CD from the specific hearing or trial you're talking about, "at Time 10:50:29 AM" shows that on the recording at 10:50 and 29 seconds in the morning someone testified that the parties were married in 1999.

What does an appeal brief include?

Each appeal brief must include specific sections. Please read closely the information found in required sections in appeals briefs.

Do appeal briefs have special formatting?

Yes. There are very specific requirements for what a brief looks like. Please read closely the information found in the required formatting section so that your brief is accepted. If your brief does not include all of the required formatting, the court will reject it. Please read the Top Ten Reasons Why Briefs and Excerpts of Record are Rejected Adobe Acrobat PDF logo.


Rev. 10 April 2008
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