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HOT OFF THE PRESS: The Latest Edition of the N.C. Appellate Style Manual

Guides for North Carolina Appeals

Drum roll, please. . . .

The latest edition of the North Carolina Appellate Style Manual has been published!  You can download it here.

The Appellate Rules Committee[1] of the North Carolina Bar Association began publishing the Style Manual in 1999 as a resource for anyone tasked with perfecting an appeal before the Supreme Court of North Carolina or the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

After the last edition of the Style Manual was published in 2017, a Lawyers Mutual article acclaimed that “the Style Manual is an excellent road map for North Carolina lawyers navigating the complexities of the state appellate courts,” as it “provides sample documents and practical notes for drafting records on appeal, briefs, writs, motions, and other appellate pleadings.”  (Remember: Although it is a helpful guide, practitioners should only utilize the Style Manual in conjunction with their independent and close review of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure.)

The 2020 Edition of the Style Manual continues to reflect all of the great content that North Carolina appellate practitioners have come to know and love, PLUS the following:

  • The latest and greatest Appellate Rules. The Supreme Court of North Carolina has adopted a number of new and amended rules to the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure since the 2017 Edition of the Style Manual was published.  Accordingly, the 2020 Style Manual has been updated to now reflect any relevant amendments to the Appellate Rules that have been adopted since December 31, 2019.
  • New content for criminal law practitioners. The 2020 Style Manual now contains specific guidance for constructing a typical printed record on appeal in a criminal case.  This new addition is reflected in the Record on Appeal section of the 2020 Style Manual, along with an updated version of the Style Manual’s former sub-sections devoted to assembling a typical printed record on appeal in a civil or juvenile case.
  • Uniform formatting. The Style Manual was originally created to provide appellate practitioners with a compilation of prior filing examples that are commonly required to perfect an appeal in the North Carolina Appellate Courts.  Accordingly, the examples reflected in prior editions of the Style Manual appeared to derive from a variety of different matters.  The 2020 Style Manual has been revised to now reflect uniform formatting and similar case captions and party names to better exemplify the progression of documents that are often filed in a single civil, juvenile, or criminal matter on appeal.

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[1] As reflected on its website, the North Carolina Appellate Rules Committee “examines the rules of appellate procedure and recommends any revisions to the Board of Governors for ultimate referral and consideration by the N.C. Supreme Court. . . .  Its members – lawyers and judges from across the state – meet regularly to discuss appellate problems and possible solutions.  Among other work, the committee has drafted proposed amendments to the N.C. Rules of Appellate Procedure for consideration by the Supreme Court.”


DISCLAIMER FROM THE AUTHOR:  I served as the co-editor of the 2020 Style Manual, so naturally, my opinion of its usefulness is biased.  Don’t take my word for it though.  Check out the 2020 Style Manual yourself, and let us know what you think!

But seriously.  Please contact me if you have any questions or suggestions for the next edition of the Style Manual.  I welcome all feedback.


Caitlin A. Mitchell is a litigator and appellate practitioner who handles a variety of product liability, premises liability, and complex business and employment matters. Read More.

Contact Caitlin at Caitlin.Mitchell@youngmoorelaw.com or (919) 861-5089.


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