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7th Circuit proposes changes to maximum word counts for briefs

September 27, 2016

The clerk of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals announced Tuesday proposed new and amended circuit rules dealing with maximum word counts for briefs.

New rule Circuit Rule 28.1, dealing with cross-appeals, would hold that appellants’ opening briefs in a cross-appeal, or appellants’ response briefs, would be acceptable if the briefs contain no more than 14,000 words. Similarly, appellees’ combined principal and response briefs would be acceptable if they contained no more than 16,500 words, and reply briefs would be acceptable if they contained no more than 7,000 words.

New rule Circuit Rule 29, dealing with briefs of an amicus curiae, would allow for amicus briefs to be up to 7,000 words long. The Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 29(a)(5)  holds that amicus briefs cannot be longer than one-half of the length allowed for a party’s principal brief.

Circuit Rule 32 deals with the form of a brief and under the amendment, principal briefs would be acceptable up to 14,000 words, and reply briefs would be acceptable up to 7,000 words. Principal briefs are currently limited to 13,000 words, while replies are limited to 6,500 words under Fed. R. App. P. 32(a)(7).

Written comments on the proposed rules can be sent to Advisory Committee, c/o Clerk of Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 219 South Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60604, or to USCA7_Clerk@ca7.uscourts.gov. Comments must be received by Nov. 7.
 

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