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Rules



These rules are not intended to reiterate all applicable laws. The word "counsel" throughout these rules also applies to pro se parties.

These rules are effective on January 1, 2017.


X. APPLICATIONS FOR DISCRETIONARY APPEAL

Rule 31. Discretionary Applications.

(a) Filing Deadline.


An application for discretionary appeal must generally be filed in this Court within 30 days of the date of the entry of the trial court’s order being appealed, although pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 44-7-56, a discretionary application involving a dispossessory action must be filed within seven days of the entry of the trial court’s order. The trial court’s order is entered on the date it is filed with the trial court clerk.

(b) Burden of Proof.

The applicant bears the burden of persuading the Court that the application should be granted. An application for leave to appeal a final judgment in cases subject to discretionary appeal under O.C.G.A. § 5-6-35 will be granted only when:

(1) Reversible error appears to exist;

(2) The establishment of a precedent is desirable;

(3) Further development of the common law, particularly in divorce cases, is desirable; or

(4) The application is for leave to appeal a judgment and decree of divorce that is final under O.C.G.A. § 5-6-34 (a) (1), timely under O.C.G.A. § 5-6-35 (d), and is determined to have possible merit.

An application filed by an attorney seeking to rely on the standard set forth in Rule 31 (b) (3) or (b) (4) must be accompanied by a certificate of good faith stating as follows:

“I, the undersigned attorney of record in this case, am a member of the State Bar of Georgia in good standing and make this certificate of good faith as required by Rule 31 of the Court of Appeals of Georgia. I hereby certify that I am familiar with the trial court record in this case and based on the record and my understanding of the applicable law, I have a good faith belief that this application has merit and that it is not filed for the purpose of delay, harassment, or embarrassment. I further certify that I have been authorized by my client, the applicant, to file this application. This the _______ day of _________________, 20__.”

If the application is nevertheless found to be frivolous, a sanction of up to $2,500 may be imposed upon the attorney filing it. See Rule 7 (e) (2), Contempt Penalty.

(c) Required Items.
Discretionary applications must contain a stamped “filed” copy of the trial court’s order or judgment from which the appeal is sought. The stamped “filed” copy of the trial court’s order or judgment must contain the signature of the trial court judge. Neither conformed signatures nor stamped signatures are permitted except for those courts in which the official practice is for the judge to electronically sign or stamp his or her signature. The Court will return any application not containing a stamped “filed” copy of the trial court order or judgment on which the application is based.

(d) Filing Fee.
The Clerk shall not receive an application unless filing fees have been paid or an exception set out in Rule 5 has been met. See O.C.G.A. § 5-6-4. The filing fee shall be in the amount set out in Rule 5. The filing date is the date the application is received in conformity with all court rules and all applicable fees are paid.

(e) Required Attachments.
The applicant shall include with the application a copy of any petition or motion that led directly to the order or judgment being appealed and a copy of any responses to the petition or motion.

(f) Sufficient Material.
Applications for discretionary appeal pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 5-6-35 must include sufficient material to apprise the Court of the appellate issues, in context, and to support the arguments advanced. Failure to submit sufficient material to apprise the Court of the issues and support the argument shall result in denial of the application.

(g) Format

(1) Efiled applications.
Applicants who are represented by counsel must efile applications pursuant to Court of Appeals Rule 46, Electronic Filing of Documents, and in compliance with this Court’s efiling instructions. 

(i) Application briefs shall follow the requirements of Rule 24, Preparation of Briefs, including the length limitations for computer-generated documents in Rule 24 (f), and shall also follow the general format of Rule 2 (c), Documents.

(ii) Only documents directly relevant to the arguments raised should be uploaded as application exhibits.

(iii) Documents and attachments or exhibits to documents filed below must be uploaded as separate, independent exhibits.

(iv) Each uploaded exhibit must be titled to inform the Court of the nature of the exhibit and to correspond with the application index and citations in the application brief.

(v) The application index, which must be uploaded immediately following – and separately from – the application brief, must identify the exhibits in the order they are uploaded.

(vi) Efiled exhibits may not exceed a total of 100 pages collectively, exclusive of the application brief, application index, trial court order, and motion, with supporting documents leading to the trial court order, and any responses and supporting documents, and any transcripts. If the page limit is exceeded, the attorney submitting the application shall include, as a separate document, a signed certificate of good faith stating:

“I, the undersigned attorney of record in the above-styled case, certify that all of the documents that have been uploaded as exhibits are directly relevant to the arguments raised in the application, are necessary to apprise the Court of the appellate issues, and support the arguments advanced in the application.”

If the application materials are nevertheless found to include unnecessary or duplicative exhibits, a sanction of up to $2,500 may be imposed on the attorney filing the application. See Rule 7 (e) (2), Contempt Penalty.

(vii) Failure to comply with this rule and with the Court’s efiling instructions may subject the application to dismissal or return for preparation according to the Court’s rules.

(2) Paper-filed applications.

(i) Applications and responses to applications are limited to 30 pages in civil cases and 50 pages in criminal cases, exclusive of attached exhibits and parts of the record, and shall follow the general format of Rule 2 (c), Documents, and Rule 24, Preparation of Briefs.

(ii) Paper-filed applications shall include copies of all supporting materials from the record, indexed and tabbed with a blank sheet between each indexed item.

(iii) Paper-filed applications shall be securely bound at the top with staples or fasteners (round head or ACCO). If not prepared properly, the application is subject to dismissal or return for preparation according to the Court’s rules. Tables of content, tables of citations, cover sheets, and certificates of service are not counted toward the page limit.

(h) Filing Under Seal.

No application for discretionary appeal shall be filed under seal unless counsel has moved the Court for permission to file under seal and the Court has granted the motion.

(i) No Extension of Time.

No extensions of time will be granted to file a discretionary application unless a motion for extension is filed on or before the application due date. The motion for an extension of time shall be submitted pursuant to Rule 40 (b), Emergency Motions. The filing fee for the Rule 40 (b) motion is separate from the discretionary application fee. No extension of time will be granted to file a response to a discretionary application.

(j) Response Time.

Responses are due within 10 days of docketing. No response is required, unless ordered by the Court.

(k) Deadline to File Notice of Appeal.

If the discretionary application is granted, the appellant must file a notice of appeal in the trial court within 10 days of the date of the order granting the application.

(l) Late Filings.

No pleadings will be accepted on an application for discretionary appeal which are filed more than 30 days after the date of the order granting, denying, or dismissing the application or denying or dismissing the motion for reconsideration.