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Appellate Brief Filing Tips

Reasons Your Brief May Not Be Filed or Require Correction

1. The brief is too long. Know the limits; it will vary depending on the typeface you use. Make sure your typeface is large enough. See North Dakota Rules of Appellate Procedure (N.D.R.App.P. 32).

A. Proportional spaced typeface: each letter takes a proportional space of an inch, for example: in Times New Roman, "ii" and "oo" take up a different amount of space. Proportional-spaced briefs have a word limit of 10,500 words for your main brief and 2,500 words for a reply brief or petition for rehearing.
 B.  Monospaced typeface: each letter
takes up the same amount of space in an inch,
for example: in Courier New, "ii" and "oo"
take up the same amount of space.  Monospaced
briefs have a page limit of 40 pages
for your main brief and 10 pages for
a reply brief or petition for rehearing.

2. The filing fee has not been paid. The filing fee must be paid, if required, before the Appellant's Brief will be filed. See North Dakota Century Code (N.D.C.C.) § 27-03-05 and N.D.R.App.P. 12.

3. The brief is not timely. Know when your brief is due; it will vary depending on whether you are the Appellant or Appellee. The three-day mailing rule does not apply to the time for filing the Appellant's Brief or a petition for rehearing. See N.D.R.App.P. 26 and 41.

4. The color is wrong. Know your color: blue for Appellant; red for Appellee; gray for a Reply Brief; green for an Amicus Curiae; white for an Appendix or Addendum. See N.D.R.App.P. 32. The Petition for Rehearing follows the same color as the main brief. See N.D.R.App.P. 40.

5. The title is wrong. The title does not change on appeal, except to add Appellant and Appellee. See N.D.R.App.P. 3.

6. There are problems with the contents.

A. Basic Requirements. The brief must have at least a statement of the issues on appeal, statement of the proceedings in the trial court/statement of the facts, argument and relief requested. See N.D.R.App.P. 28. If you are self-represented see also State v. Noack, 2007 ND 82, ¶ 9, 732 N.W.2d 389.

B. Privacy Protection. Initials rather than the person's name must be used when referring in any appellate document to "(1) the respondent in a mental health proceeding; (2) the respondent and members of the respondent's family in a conservatorship or guardianship proceeding; (3) the respondent in a juvenile proceeding; (4) the child and parents in a proceeding to terminate parental rights; (5) a minor child in a divorce, child custody, or child support case; (6) a victim or alleged victim of a sexual offense." See N.D.R.App.P. 14

7. Use both citations. The brief must use both the North Dakota citation and the Northwest Reporter citation in the table of authorities and the argument of the brief for opinions filed after January 1, 1997, by the North Dakota Supreme Court. See North Dakota Rules of Court (N.D.R.Ct.) 11.6.

8. Provide the correct number of copies. The original and seven copies of the brief are required, unless you are efiling under Rule 25.

9. Provide an electronic copy. Send a copy of the brief, in the original word processing format, by email or diskette to the Clerk when filing the brief. The electronic copy must be in a single electronic file. The electronic copy may be sent by email to or by diskette. If you cannot provide an electronic copy, you must tell the Clerk that in writing. See N.D.R.App.P. 31.

10. An appendix is required. The appendix must be separately bound. It must begin with a table of contents, and contain a register of actions from the trial court, the judgment or order in question, and the notice of appeal. The Appendix may only contain documents that have been filed in the trial court, or you could be subject to sanctions. The appendix must be in the same order as documents are filed in the record on appeal. See N.D.R.App.P. 30.

11. Electronic filing. If you are electronically filing (efiling) your brief, you must follow the requirements of Rule 25.

12. Licensed attorneys. If you are an attorney, you must be admitted to practice in North Dakota and currently licensed. See N.D.C.C. § 27-02-07. Nonresident attorneys must comply with North Dakota Admission to Practice Rule 3. Law students must comply with the North Dakota Rules on the Limited Practice of Law by Law Students.