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Save the Trees and Bookmark Your Briefs: Amendments to the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure

On October 20, 2023, the Alabama Supreme Court amended the appellate rules to reduce the number of paper copies required to be sent to the appellate courts after filing. At the same time, the Court amended the rules to require bookmarks in PDF documents. See Amendment Order (10-20-2023). These amendments are effective January 1, 2024.

However, the Supreme Court issued an administrative order making the reduction in the number of paper copies effective immediately. See Admin. Order (10-24-2023).

The Alabama Supreme Court has amended Rules 5(e), 21(d), 27(d), 31(b) and 39(e) of the Alabama Rules of Appellate procedure to reduce the number of paper copies parties are required to provide to the court.

  • Effective October 24, 2023, parties who e-file a document pursuant to Ala. R. App. P. 5, 21, 31, and 40 must mail two hard copies within 24 hours of e-filing.

  • Parties who file in traditional paper format should supply one additional hard copy with the original copy of the paper document.

  • Also, effective October 24, 2023, the Alabama Supreme Court no longer requires hard copies of documents filed pursuant to Ala. R. App. P. 27 and 39, where those documents are e-filed pursuant to Ala. R. App. P. 57.

  • If those documents are filed in traditional paper format, only the original paper document is required.

  • Rule 57(h)(2) contains corresponding amendments.

  • The Clerk of Court may request additional hard copies of any document.

Effective January 1, 2024, Ala. R. App. P. 57(e)(5) requires filers to electronically bookmark the separate sections of each document to be e-filed.

Bookmarks can be added to .pdf documents using word processing software such as MS Word or Adobe Acrobat. Bookmarks allow the court to quickly locate the different areas in a filing and documents in the appendix or exhibit list. The rule contains specific instructions for how and where to insert bookmarks.


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