Rule 21. Filing and service.

(a) Filing. Papers required or permitted to be filed by these rules shall be filed with the clerk of the appropriate court. Filing may be accomplished by mail addressed to the clerk. Except as provided in subpart (f), filing is not considered timely unless the papers are received by the clerk within the time fixed for filing, except that briefs shall be deemed filed on the date of the postmark if first class mail is utilized. If a motion requests relief which may be granted by a single justice or judge, the justice or judge may accept the motion, note the date of filing, and transmit it to the clerk.

(b) Service of all papers required. Copies of all papers filed with the appellate court shall, at or before the time of filing, be served on all other parties to the appeal or review. Service on a party represented by counsel shall be made on counsel of record, or, if the party is not represented by counsel, upon the party at the last known address. A copy of any paper required by these rules to be served on a party shall be filed with the court and accompanied by proof of service.

(c) Manner of service. Service may be personal or by mail. Personal service includes delivery of the copy to a clerk or other responsible person at the office of counsel. Service by mail is complete on mailing.

(d) Proof of service. Papers presented for filing shall contain an acknowledgment of service by the person served or a certificate of service in the form of a statement of the date and manner of service, the names of the persons served, and the addresses at which they were served. The certificate of service may appear on or be affixed to the papers filed. If counsel of record is served, the certificate of service shall designate the name of the party represented by that counsel.

(e) Signature. All papers filed in the appellate court shall be signed by counsel of record or by a party who is not represented by counsel.

(f) Papers filed by an inmate confined in an institution are timely filed if they are deposited in the institution's internal mail system on or before the last day for filing. Timely filing may be shown by a notarized statement or written declaration setting forth the date of deposit and stating that first-class postage has been prepaid.           

Advisory Committee Notes


Paragraph (e) is added to Rule 21 to consolidate various signature provisions formerly found in other sections of the rules.