The third and final brief in the appeal process is written by the appellant. It is called the appellant’s reply brief.
The appellant only files a reply brief if the respondent files a respondent’s brief.
The reply brief gives the appellant an opportunity to address the legal issues discussed in the respondent’s brief.
Is it required? No. The appellant can choose to file a reply brief but it is not required.
When is the deadline? The appellant’s reply brief is due within 20 days after the respondent files the respondent’s brief. A copy of the reply brief should be served to all other parties in the case, the trial court, and the California Supreme Court before it is filed with the Court of Appeal. The appellant can request additional time to serve and file their reply brief.
How much does it cost? There is no additional cost to file an appellant’s reply brief.
Is there a court form? No. There is not a court form for the appellant’s reply brief, but there are strict rules about the format and the contents.
What’s included? The appellant’s reply brief has a very limited purpose. The appellant can only respond to the legal arguments and legal authorities in the respondent’s brief. The appellant cannot raise new issues in the reply brief and cannot repeat arguments made in the opening brief.
What happens next? After all the briefs are filed and the Court of Appeal has had time to review them, the court will contact the parties to ask if they want to participate in oral arguments. This is a chance for the parties to talk to the Court of Appeal justices in person and explain the arguments in their briefs.
Learn more about how to write an appellant’s reply brief