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Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1 permits attorneys to cite to federal courts of appeals their unpublished opinions issued 2007 or later. Unpublished opinions issued before 2007 may be cited to the courts if permitted by the courts' local rules. This document is a summary table of the federal courts of appeals' local rules on citations to their unpublished opinions issued before 2007.

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This handbook provides an overview of chambers operations and the work of the federal courts.

For the original English language publication, see Law Clerk Handbook: A Handbook for Law Clerks to Federal Judges, Second Edition (2007).

This publication was translated to Russian and published by the U.S. Agency for International Development. The Federal Judicial Center cannot vouch for the accuracy of the translation.

Archival Copy on File

Based on a random sample of federal appeals filed in 2002, this article presents analyses of disposition times, the frequency with which both published and unpublished opinions are issued, the average length of counseled briefs and the frequency with which they are filed, the average length of both published and unpublished opinions, and the frequency with which various types of authorities are cited in both briefs and opinions.

The Journal of Appellate Practice and Process, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Fall 2006)

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In early 2006, the Federal Judicial Center examined the prevalence of the use of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 58(c)(2), and the circumstances under which appeals of judgments on the merits and decisions regarding attorney fees can occur at the same time. Two resulting memoranda were presented to the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules in May 2006.

  • Coinciding appeals of a judgment on the merits and a decision regarding attorney fees, March 7, 2006, 6 pages
  • Fed.R.Civ.P. 58(c)(2), January 30, 2006, 2 pages
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This report describes the ways in which videoconferencing is used in the courts of appeals. Appellate judges with varying degrees of experience with videoconferencing identify advantages and disadvantages of using videoconferencing for oral arguments and other court business, describe the extent to which videoconferencing altered the dynamic between judge and attorney during oral arguments, and report any problems they had encountered in using the technology.

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At its June 2004 meeting, the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure asked the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee to ask the Federal Judicial Center to conduct empirical research that would help the Standing Committee in its consideration of a proposed new Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1, which would permit attorneys and courts in federal appeals in all circuits to cite the court's unpublished opinions. The Center's research effort consisted of three components: (1) a survey of judges, (2) a survey of attorneys, and (3) a survey of case files. The rule, as amended and approved by the Judicial Conference in September 2005 and approved by the Supreme Court in April 2006, applies only to opinions issued in 2007 or later. The rule became effective December 1, 2006.

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The Appellate Rules Advisory Committee has written a new Rule 32.1 which permits attorneys and courts in federal appeals in all circuits to cite unpublished opinions. At its June 2004 meeting, the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure asked the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee to ask the Federal Judicial Center to conduct empirical research that would yield results helpful to the Standing Committee's consideration of the proposed rule. The Center's research effort consisted of three components: (1) a survey of judges, (2) a survey of attorneys, and (3) a survey of case files. This report was presented to and considered by the Standing Committee during its June 15-16, 2005 meeting, at which it approved the Advisory Committee's proposed rule for consideration by the Judicial Conference at its September 2005 meeting.

This report was subsequently published as Citing Unpublished Opinions in Federal Appeals (2005).

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The Appellate Rules Advisory Committee has proposed a new Rule 32.1, which would permit attorneys and courts in federal appeals in all circuits to cite unpublished opinions. At its June 2004 meeting, the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure asked the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee to ask the Federal Judicial Center to conduct empirical research that would yield results helpful to the Standing Committee's consideration of the proposed rule.

The Center's research effort consists of three components: (1) a survey of judges, (2) a survey of attorneys, and (3) a survey of case files. This preliminary report, which includes analyses of all responses in the survey of judges, almost all of the responses in the survey of attorneys, and a majority of cases in the survey of case files (9 out of 13 circuits), was presented to the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee on April 18, 2005. The authors expect to have all data analyzed and a complete report for the Standing Committee on Rules meeting on June 15-16, 2005.

In Print: Available for Distribution

The Federal Judicial Center prepared this report to assist the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure to evaluate reported problems with and potential amendments to Rules 28 and 32 on the content and cover of briefs. The report presents information received from the thirteen courts of appeals on every local rule or practice that imposes upon briefs and brief covers requirements that are not in the national rules. The report also describes the history behind the adoption of the local requirements, the extent to which courts enforce them, as well as the courts' plans to adopt more briefing requirements, problems courts have experienced under the current rules, and whether Rule 28 should be amended to prohibit further variations or to include additional or different briefing requirements.

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This report was prepared at the request of the Committee on Appellate Rules as they consider proposing a uniform rule on en banc voting procedures for the courts of appeals.

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