Rules of Appellate Procedure


The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure are a set of rules, promulgated by the Supreme Court of the United States on recommendation of an advisory committee.  The rules are prepared to govern procedures in cases before the United States Courts of Appeals.  The Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure were originally adopted in 1967 and have been amended regularly since then. 

Title I of the Federal Rules deals with Applicability of Rules.  Title 1 contains Rule 1 and 2. 

  • Rule 1-Scope of Rules.  The rules govern procedure in the United States Court of Appeals.
  • Rule 2-Suspension of Rules.  A Court of Appeals may suspend any provision of the rules in order to expedite its decision or for other good cause. 

Title II deals with the rules with respect to an Appeal From a Judgment or Order of a District Court.  Title II contains Rule 3 to Rule 12. 

  • Rule 3.-Appeal as of Right—How Taken.  An appeal may be filed only filing a notice of appeal with the district clerk.  When two or more parties are entitled to appeal from a district-court judgment, they may file a joint notice of appeal.  The rule also specifies the contents of the Notice of Appeal.  The district clerk must serve notice of the filing of a notice of appeal by mailing a copy to each party’s counsel of record.  
  • Rule 3.1. Appeal from a Judgment of a Magistrate Judge in a Civil Case   (Abrogated)
  • Rule 4-Appeal as of Right—When Taken. In a civil case notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days after the judgment or order appealed from is entered.  The district court may extend the time to file a notice of appeal.  The district court may also reopen the time to file an appeal for a period of 14 days after the date when the order to reopen is entered. 
  • Rule 5-Appeal by Permission.   A petition for permission should be filed by a party to re request permission to appeal when an appeal is within the Court of Appeals discretion.   The rule specifies the contents of the petition, answer or cross petition and oral argument. 
  • Rule 5.1. Appeal by Leave under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(5) (Abrogated).
  • Rule 6-Appeal in a Bankruptcy Case from a Final Judgment, Order, or Decree of a District Court or Bankruptcy Appellate Panel.  An appeal in a bankruptcy case is taken as civil appeal.   
  • Rule 7-Bond for Costs on Appeal in a Civil Case. In a civil case, the appellant should file a bond or provide security necessary to ensure payment of costs on appeal. 
  • Rule 8-Stay or Injunction Pending Appeal.  A party must first move in the District court for a stay of the judgment pending appeal and approval of a supersedeas bond.  A motion for stay may be made to the Court of Appeals stating the impracticability of moving first in the District court. 
  • Rule 9-Release in a Criminal Case.  The court of Appeals may order the release of the defendant pending the disposition of the appeal against the order of release or detention of the defendant in a criminal case. 
  • Rule 10. The Record on Appeal.  The rule specifies the composition of the Record on Appeal.  The rule also deals with the transcript of proceedings and statement of the evidence when the proceedings were not recorded or when a transcript is unavailable.
  •  Rule 11-Forwarding the Record.  The rule describes the duties of appellant,  reporter and district clerk. 
  • Rule 12-Docketing the Appeal; Filing a Representation Statement; Filing the Record.  Once copy of the notice of appeal and docket entries are received the circuit clerk dockets the appeal.  The attorney who filed the notice of appeal must file a representation statement.  The circuit clerk shall file the record, partial record or district clerk’s certificate and notify all parties of the filing date. 

Title III prescribes the rules for Review of a Decision of the United States Tax Court.  Title III contains Rule 13 and Rule 14. 

  • Rule 13-Review of a Decision of the Tax Court,  Review of a Tax court decision is commenced by filing a notice of appeal with the Tax Court clerk within 90 days of the decision.  The rule prescribes the contents of the notice, manner of service, effect of filing and service. 
  • Rule 14.-Applicability of Other Rules to the Review of a Tax Court Decision.  All provisions except Rules 4-9, 15-20 and 22-23 apply to the review of a Tax Court decision. 

Title IV provides the rules for Review or Enforcement of an Order of an Administrative Agency, Board, Commission, or Officer.  Title IV contains Rule 15 to Rule 20. 

  • Rule 15-Review or Enforcement of an Agency Order—How Obtained; Intervention.  Review is commenced by filing a petition for review with the clerk of a Court of Appeals.  To enforce an agency order, an application must be filed with the clerk of a Court of Appeals.  The circuit clerk must serve a copy of the petition for review or an application or cross application to enforce an agency order on each respondent. 
  • Rule 15.1-Briefs and Oral Argument in a National Labor Relations Board Proceeding.  A party adverse to the National Labor Relations Board proceeds first in an enforcement or a review proceeding.   
  • Rule 16-The Record on Review or Enforcement.  The rule prescribes the composition of the record.  The parties can at any time supply any omission from the record or correct a misstatement.   
  • Rule 17-Filing the Record.  Once the petition for review is served, the agency must file the record  with the circuit clerk within 40 days. 
  • Rule 18-Stay Pending Review.  A petitioner must move first before the agency for a stay.  A motion for stay may be made to Court of Appeals stating the impracticability of moving first before the agency.   
  • Rule 19-Settlement of a Judgment Enforcing an Agency Order in Part. 
  • Rule 20. Applicability of Rules to the Review or Enforcement of an Agency Order.  All provisions except Rules 3-14 and 22-23 apply to the review or enforcement of an agency order.  

Title V is regarding the rules with respect to Extraordinary Writs.  Title V contains Rule 21.

  • Rule 21-Writs of Mandamus and Prohibition, and Other Extraordinary Writs.  The rule prescribes the form of petition, filing, service and docketing.   

Title VI provides the rules with respect to Habeas Corpus; Proceedings in Forma Pauperis.  Title VI contains Rule 22 to Rule 24. 

  • Rule 22-Habeas Corpus and Section 2255 Proceedings.  An application for a writ of habeas corpus must be made to the appropriate district court.  In a habeas corpus proceeding or Section 2255 proceeding, the applicant cannot make an appeal unless district or circuit judge issues a certificate of appealability. 
  • Rule 23-Custody or Release of a Prisoner in a Habeas Corpus Proceeding.  A person having custody of the prisoner shall not transfer custody while a review of a decision in a habeas corpus proceeding is pending. 
  • Rule 24. Proceeding in Forma Pauperis.  A party to a district-court action should file a motion along with an affidavit in the district court if s/he desires to appeal in forma-pauperis.   

Title VII describes General Provisions.  Title VII contains Rule 25 to Rule 48. 

  • Rule 25-Filing and Service.  The rule describes filing method and timeliness, manner of service and proof of service.   
  • Rule 26-Computing and Extending Time.  The rules for computing and extending any period of time are prescribed.   
  • Rule 26.1. Corporate Disclosure Statement.   
  • Rule 27- Motions.  An application for an order is made by motion.  The rule prescribes the contents of a motion and response.    
  • Rule 28-Briefs.  The rule prescribes the contents of appellant’s brief, appellee’s briefs and reply briefs.   
  • Rule 28.1. Cross-Appeals.  The rule deals with applicability of cross appeals, designation of appellant and briefs
  • Rule 29-Brief of an Amicus Curiae.  The United States or a State, Territory, Commonwealth or the District of Columbia may file an amicus-curiae brief without the consent of the parties or leave of court.    The rule prescribes the contents and form of an amicus brief, its length and time for filing. 
  • Rule 30-Appendix to the Briefs.  The rule prescribes the contents of the appendix, time to file and number of copies. 
  • Rule 31-Serving and Filing Briefs.  The rule prescribes the time to serve and file a brief, number of copies and consequence of failure to file.
  • Rule 32-Form of Briefs, Appendices, and Other Papers.  The rule prescribes reproduction of a brief, cover, binding, paper size, line spacing and margins, type styles, typeface and length. 
  • Rule 32.1. Citing Judicial Dispositions.  The rule states that a court may not prohibit or restrict the citation of federal judicial opinions or judgment that are designated as “unpublished,” “not for publication,” “non-precedential,” or “not precedent” issued on or after January 1, 2007. 
  • Rule 33-Appeal Conferences:  The court may direct attorneys to participate in conferences presided over by a judge to address any matter that may help in disposing of the proceedings. 
  • Rule 34-Oral Argument.  The rule prescribes the order and content of oral argument.   
  • Rule 35-En Banc Determination.  The rule describes when hearing or rehearing en banc may be ordered.  The rule prescribes the contents of petition for hearing or rehearing en banc, time for petition, number of copies and response.   
  • Rule 36-Entry of Judgment; Notice.  A judgment is entered when it is noted on the docket.  The clerk must prepare, sign and enter the judgment once the court’s opinion is received. The clerk must serve on all parties a copy of the opinion.    
  • Rule 37-Interest on Judgment.  The rule specifies the interest payable in a money judgment, when the court affirms the district court’s judgment and when the court reverses the district court’s judgment. 
  • Rule 38-Frivolous Appeal—Damages and Costs:  If an appeal is frivolous, the Court of Appeal may award just damages and single or double costs to the appellee.   
  • Rule 39-Costs.  The rule deals with costs against the appellant, costs for and against the United States and costs on Appeal taxable in the District Court. 
  • Rule 40-Petition for Panel Rehearing.  The rule prescribes the contents of the petition for rehearing, answer, action by the Court if granted and time to file.    
  • Rule 41- Mandate: Contents; Issuance and Effective Date; Stay.  Mandate consists of a certified copy of the judgment, copy of the court’s opinion and any direction about costs.  The rule prescribes the content, issuance, effective date and staying the mandate. 
  • Rule 42-Voluntary Dismissal.  The district court may dismiss an appeal on the filing of a stipulation signed by all parties or on the appellant’s motion, before an appeal is docketed by the circuit clerk. 
  • Rule 43-Substitution of Parties.   The rule prescribes when parties can be substituted, procedure to be adopted on the death of a party. 
  • Rule 44-Case Involving a Constitutional Question When the United States or the Relevant State is Not a Party.  The rule prescribes the procedure to be adopted when there is constitutional challenge to federal statute and state statute.
  • Rule 45-Clerk’s Duties.  The rule stipulates the qualifications and duties of the circuit clerk. 
  • Rule 46-Attorneys.  The rule prescribes the eligibility criteria for admission to the bar of a Court of Appeals, admission procedures and suspension or disbarment.
  • Rule 47-Local Rules by Courts of Appeals.  According to this rule, practice before a Court of Appeals must be in a local rule rather than an internal operating procedure or standing order.  A local rule must be consistent with Acts of Congress.    
  • Rule 48-Masters.  A Court of Appeals may appoint a special master to hold hearings.  The rule prescribes the powers of master and master’s compensation.

Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure