Once a brief is finalized and ready for printing, one of the final decisions is the method of mailing for the service parties and the Court. Fortunately, Supreme Court Rule 29 provides the following straightforward guidelines for ensuring your document is filed and served in a timely manner.
The Court follows the mailbox rule–meaning your document will be considered timely so long as it is:
- Received by the Clerk within the time specified for filing; or
- If it is sent to the Clerk through the United States Postal Service by postmarked first-class mail (a commercial postage meter cannot be used); or
- If it is delivered on or before the last day of filing to a third-party commercial carrier for delivery to the Clerk within 3 calendar days.
Following Rule 29.2, we always send the Court’s copies by third-party commercial carrier Overnight or Two-Day shipping. Two-Day shipping is only an option when the document is shipped on Monday-Wednesday and in that circumstance filers can choose whether they would prefer speed or lower cost. For the cost-conscious filer, targeting an early weekday filing date is an easy way to save some shipping cost.
Service on each Party to the Proceeding is then governed by Rule 29.3 which states, “Ordinarily, service on a party must be by a manner at least as expeditious as the manner used to file…with the Court.” (emphasis added), but Service copies can be sent by United States Postal Service Priority Mail as an inexpensive, rule-compliant alternative. Other methods such as UPS or FedEx Ground cannot be used as third-party commercial carriers are required to be delivered within 3 calendar days. Priority Mail can be an excellent cost-saving option, especially in situations with extensive service lists, and is still fairly expedient with 1-3 business day delivery.
This rule also requires the transmittal of the electronic version of the document to the parties at the time of filing unless the filer is proceeding pro se or in forma pauperis or the party’s email address is unknown and cannot be identified through reasonable efforts. This electronic service is fairly informal, the filer does not need to prepare any special language in their email at the Petition stage and Cockle will provide the required information regarding PDF naming convention and email contents at the Merits stage.
Please see the Cockle Bur’s post An In-Depth Look at Supreme Court Rule 29 – Filing and Service for more detailed information on Rule 29 and determining who to serve at the Petition and Merits stage.