U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Appellate Procedure Guide
December 2023

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BRIEFING : Formal Briefing

Formal Briefing
Use of Formal Briefing Schedule
The court uses a formal briefing schedule in appeals in which both sides are represented by counsel, with the following exceptions:
Briefing Schedule
The court sets the briefing schedule when the record is complete and sends notice to the parties of the dates the briefs are to be filed. See Loc. R. 10(a) & 31(b).
Extensions of time to file briefs will be granted only when extraordinary circumstances exist. A motion for extension of time to file a brief must be filed well in advance of the date the brief is due and must set forth the additional time requested and the reasons for the request. The court discourages these motions and may deny the motion entirely or grant a lesser period of time than requested. Loc. R. 31(c).
Failure to File Brief
If appellant fails to timely file its brief, the clerk's office will issue notice under Local Rule 45 that the appeal will be dismissed unless counsel remedies the default within 15 days. If appellant is represented by court-appointed counsel, the clerk will issue notice of intent to initiate disciplinary action under Local Rule 46(g) instead of threatening dismissal under Local Rule 45. If appellee fails to file a brief, the appellee will not be heard at any oral argument scheduled in the matter except by leave of court. Fed. R. App. P. 31(c).
Leave to File Amicus Briefs
The court will prohibit the filing of or strike an amicus brief that would result in the recusal of a member of the panel that has been assigned to the case or in the recusal of a member of the en banc court from a vote on whether to hear or rehear a case en banc. Loc. R. 29(a).
If briefs or appendices are illegible or are not in the form required by the rules, counsel will be required to file corrected copies of the document. If the corrected copies are not submitted within the time allowed by the clerk, they must be accompanied by a motion to extend filing time. Loc. R. 32(c).
Corrected Briefs: If making clerical corrections to briefs not requested by court, counsel should file separate “Errata sheet” and corrected copies of electronic and any paper briefs. If making substantive corrections, counsel should file separate motion and corrected copies of electronic and any paper briefs.
Corrected Appendices: Unless the correction was requested by the court, counsel filing the corrected appendix must file a separate motion. Corrections must be made in electronic and any paper copies.
Brief Citations to the Appendix (effective 07/15/2022)
The Court has implemented a “Citelinks” utility within the Judiciary’s CM/ECF system that hyperlinks appendix citations in the briefs to the cited page of the appendix. The Citelinks functionality requires that counsel paginate the appendix using Bates page numbering and a standard format and that citations to the appendix in the brief follow the same format. Citelinks leaves the official filing in PACER unchanged but creates hyperlinks in copies of the briefs and appendices used by the Court. See Appendix Pagination & Brief Citation Guide for additional information.
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