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Kansas Judicial Branch

Clerk of the Appellate Courts
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th Avenue, Room 374
Topeka Kansas 66612-1507
Telephone:  785.296.3229
Fax:  785.296.1028
Email: appellateclerk@kscourts.org

Rules Adopted by the Supreme Court

Rules Relating to Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Appellate Practice

Court of Appeals Internal Operating Procedures


A. Docket Preparation

The dockets are prepared by the chief counsel to the Chief Judge, and approved by the Chief Judge, at least 50 days before the scheduled docket date. Before the dockets are set, conflict sheets designating issues, counsel, district court, and other pertinent information are circulated to each judge on each panel for conflict checks. Each judge promptly examines the conflict sheets and reports to the Chief Judge if he or she intends to recuse.

When the dockets are ready, each case is assigned to a judge for writing the opinion of the court. Opinion writing is assigned on a random basis within each class of complexity to equalize the work load within the panel.

B. Decision Conference

Usually, each panel confers and decides the cases immediately after oral argument. If the judge to whom the case was initially assigned is in the majority, that judge writes the opinion. If the judge assigned to write the opinion is in the minority, and unless otherwise agreed upon by the panel, the majority opinion is reassigned by the presiding judge. The presiding judge, at the conclusion of the conference on all cases heard on that docket, will then transfer another case to the dissenting judge to rebalance the workload of the panel. The presiding judge reports all such writing assignment changes to the Chief Judge.

At the decision conference, a tentative decision as to the form of the court's opinion is usually made, including whether the opinion should be published.

C. Opinions

After an opinion is prepared, it is circulated to the panel for comment, suggestion, and approval. If the opinion is for publication, the opinion will also be circulated to all other judges on the court. Each opinion is reviewed by the Office of the Reporter of Decisions before being filed.

Any proposed separate opinion should be discussed with the panel before preparation. Moreover, when the separate opinion has been prepared, it must be returned to the author of the majority opinion for consideration. If the majority opinion is modified in response to the separate opinion, it must be returned to the author of the separate opinion for possible changes. If the changes are more than mere formalities of punctuation or style, each member of the panel must be given an opportunity to read and comment on the two opinions.

A judge should give priority to the preparation of any separate opinion over any other writing. Moreover, if any unusual delay in the circulation of either a majority opinion (for example, 60 days) or a separate opinion (for example, 30 days) should occur, the Chief Judge may call a conference of the panel members to discuss the delay.

If no satisfactory resolution of the delay can be reached, the Chief Judge may take one or more of the following actions upon 5 days prior notice: (1) reassign the writing assignment of the majority opinion to another member of the panel; (2) approve the filing of the majority opinion in advance of the proposed separate opinion; (3) reassign the case to an entirely different panel; (4) take such further action as may be deemed fair and reasonable to effect a timely filing of an opinion.

The court shall endeavor to prepare and place in circulation all opinions from a docket before the next regular docket of the court; opinions held over are expected to be given the highest priority. Each judge is required to file with the Chief Judge a weekly scoresheet listing the current status of all opinions that have been assigned to that judge to write. In the event an opinion is not issued within 60 days of the hearing date, the case name and number, the assigned panel, and the authoring judge shall be reflected on a "60 day list."

A judge gives the reading of the opinions from his or her panel, as well as the published opinions of the court, priority over other work. If opinion corrections are received from the reporter before the opinion is returned from circulation to the entire court, the author may file the opinion in its present form so long as all members of the court are given a notice of the author's intent to file the opinion.

Any opinions to be filed on a Friday will be collected in the office of the Chief Judge on the preceding Wednesday. The author of the majority opinion is responsible for furnishing the number of copies required by the Clerk of the Appellate Courts. The Chief Judge will forward the opinions and copies to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts for filing and processing.

The clerk will mail copies of opinions to counsel and the district court with a general release to the public on a Friday.

D. Motions for Rehearing

All motions for rehearing are decided by the panel that heard the case.

Motions for rehearing en banc will be considered by the entire court at the next all-court conference after any such filing.

See also: Rule 1001 - Electronic and Photographic Media Coverage of Judicial Proceedings