North Carolina's Got New Rules Of Appellate Procedure -- And No More Assignments Of Error

The North Carolina Supreme Court adopted yesterday a comprehensive overhaul of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. The new Rules will apply to cases appealed on or after October 1, 2009.  This post has a quick summary of the major changes.

Assignments of Error Are Abolished

Far and away the most significant change is the welcome elimination of assignments of error, to be replaced by a list of proposed issues.

The new procedure set out in Rule 10(b) provides that "proposed issues that the appellant intends to present on appeal shall be stated without argument at the conclusion of the record on appeal in a numbered list.  Proposed issues on appeal are to facilitate the preparation of the record on appeal and shall not limit the scope of the issues presented on appeal in an appellant's brief."  There are examples of proposed issues in Table 4 to Appendix C in the Rules.

Supplementation of Record on Appeal

There's a new procedure for supplementing the Record on Appeal without leave of Court. Rule 9(b)(5)(a) says "if the record on appeal as settled is insufficient to respond to the issues presented in an appellant's brief or the issues presented in an appellee's brief pursuant to rule 10(c), the responding party may supplement the record on appeal with any items that could otherwise have been included, pursuant to this Rule 9. . . . The supplement shall be filed no later than the responsive brief or within the time allowed for filing such a brief if none is filed."

Transcripts To Be Delivered Electronically, Email Addresses Required

The amended Rules take a couple of steps into the electronic age.  The court reporter is required to deliver the transcript to counsel electronically (Rule 7(b)(1)), in .pdf format (Rule 7(b)(2)), and to file the electronic transcript with the appellate court (Rule 7(b)(2)).  Signature blocks need to include email addresses (Rules 26(g)(3) and 28(b)(8)).

Out-Of-State Attorneys

The revised Rules impose more oversight on lawyers admitted pro hac.  The Record on Appeal now requires the inclusion of any order that admitted an out of state attorney (Rule 9(a)(1)(n)). Furthermore, out of state attorneys intending to appear in the appellate courts must make a motion in order to do so (Rule 33(d)).

New Protections For Identity Of Juveniles

If you handle appeals involving juvenile law (like termination of parental rights cases), there are new procedures in Rule 3.1 to protect the identity of juveniles.

There's a redlined copy of the Rules available which shows all the changes, including all of the many gender-neutralizing changes.

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