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Appellee's brief

What is the appellee's brief?

The appellee's brief is the appellee’s written response to the appellant’s opening brief. The appellee's brief responds to the arguments raised in the opening brief and tries to convince the Supreme Court that the Superior Court decision was correct.

Does the appellee's brief have the same sections as the opening brief?

The appellee's brief should have the same sections as the appellant's opening brief. Appellate Rule 212 requires the following sections:

The appellee does not need to include the * sections above if you agree with the appellant's opening brief version of the following sections:

For a detailed description and examples of each section in the briefs, please read the opening brief page.

This website includes a Sample Appellee's Brief to show you what the different sections look like.

What is the first thing that you should do after receiving the opening brief?

Figure out the date your appellee's brief will be due. It is due 30 days after the appellant served the opening brief (or 33 days if it was mailed to you).

Read closely the appellant’s opening brief to understand the appellant’s version of the facts and the arguments. You should also read all the statutes, cases and Superior Court documents that the appellant cites to in support of their arguments. Try to determine if these citations really stand for what the appellant says they do.

How do you write the appellee's brief?

Writing the appellee's brief is very similar to how the appellant writes the opening brief, with a few exceptions. The main differences are in writing the Statement of the Case, the Argument and Conclusion sections.

How is the Statement of Facts different?

In the Statement of Facts section, you will present your version of the facts if different than those in the opening brief. State only the important facts that the Supreme Court should know to decide the appeal. State the facts in chronological order, starting from the beginning of the Superior Court case.

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. Failure to provide the Court with this information is the most common reason that briefs are rejected.

Make sure you cite to the record, excerpt of record or transcript after every factual statement you make. So for example, if you say in your brief, “The parties were married in 1999,” you must provide a citation to either the record (R. 34), the excerpt of record (Exc. 12), or the transcript (Tr. 4) to support that statement. It would look like this, depending on whether the information is found in the record, excerpt or transcript:

If you agree with the opening brief's Statement of the Facts section, you do not need to include this section in your appellee's brief.

See the sample Appellee’s brief Statement of the Case section.

How is the Arguments section different?

In the Argument section, you should respond to every issue in the opening brief the appellant raised and show that the Superior Court decision was correct. Deal with each issue separately. Organize your arguments using headings and subheadings that match the ones the appellant used, but rewrite them to support your arguments.

You should not rely on the legal references that the appellant made in the opening brief. You likely need to do some reading on the subject and your own research. Read the statutes and cases that relate to the issues on appeal. Review the Superior Court's final judgment or orders.

See the sample Appellee’s brief Argument section.

How is the Conclusion section different?

Briefly restate your position and tell the Supreme Court what you want it to do. Usually, you will ask the court to affirm the Superior Court's decision.

See the sample Appellee’s Conclusion section.

What formatting is required?

There are very specific requirements for what a brief looks like. Please follow very carefully what the formatting section says so that your brief will be 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.

Do you have to file an appellee's brief?

It is not required, but if you do not file an appellee's brief, you will not be allowed to participate in the appeal and the court will consider only what the appellant's opening brief argues. You will not be given another opportunity to provide a written argument and you will not be allowed to present an oral argument. So think carefully about whether you want to file an appellee's brief. If you choose not to file one, you must let the court know and can file:


Rev. 31 July 2012
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