Court Pleading Paper
Court Pleading Paper
I’m not a lawyer, I am a judgment referral expert. This article is my opinion, and is not legal advice, based on my experience in California. If you ever want a strategy to use or legal advice, please contact a lawyer.
The phrase “Pleading Papers” has two meanings. One is the careful and important concepts and wordings that create a formal motion or a response for a court matter, and this article isn’t about that. This article discusses the alternative meaning of the term “pleading paper”, the fundamental formatting needed on every court filing.
Every court has rules about the form your paperwork (pleading papers) must conform to, before they will be recognized for filing in their court. Every state has general court rules. In California, one can search for “California rules of civil court”.
Most rules on pleading paper specify the use of spacings, fonts, styles, colors, margins, and line numbering. Even more court rules specify more significant matters like describing records, transcripts, citing methodologies, etc.
There are many reasons for the rules and laws concerning pleading paper. One reason is to allow the court and other parties to find information quickly. Many courts require pleading paper with 28 lines, so everyone knows line 26 is at the bottom of the page.
Even the simplest court motion must be typed on pleading paper, and follow the rules of the court. The basics of pleading paper are using 28 lines down the left side of the page, and choosing an easy to read typeface. Most courts have rules where certain items such as the court’s name has to, as an example, not above the 8th line on a 28-line page.
How do you create pleading paper? If you own OpenOffice or Microsoft Office, just do a web search for “Microsoft office pleading paper”. You can find a free template that may be downloaded, opened, and then saved by most word processing applications.
After you download and save the template, copy it. Open that copy, and type your address, your state and city, and the text you will usually include in simple notices or motions to the court. Then use “Save As” on every new document you want to make.
I have heard that OpenOffice users get better results using Microsoft pleading paper template, than they get by trying the built-in OpenOffice pleading paper template. Another option, is to visit a court and ask the clerk to retrieve some case file, and then to copy a page or two for you. Pick pages with examples of typical formatting of pleading papers for that court.
One could also configure a database, find templates, or find other software solutions to create pleading papers that work in courts. Another option is to visit a town’s law library. They have books with titles such as “Practice Guides” and “Forms of Pleading and Practice”, that have samples showing how to create pleading paper, with samples of different types of court requests.
Certain courts are very fussy, and some have rules unique for their court. Some require pleadings in a certain style, with attached exhibits when relevant. Some require a separate proposed order document, and do not allow proposed orders to be included in the same document that an affidavit as might be on, as an example, on an affidavit of identity.
Always verify the local court rules, and consider calling the court clerk before you attempt to file something. Certain courts require one to give them four copies, to get back 1 copy of the court-endorsed paperwork back to you.
Sometimes, some rules of courts are rarely enforced. The California Rules of Court requires two-page Judicial Council forms to be printed on both sides of the same piece of paper. Many courts in California don’t pay much attention to that rule.
For the few courts that do enforce this particular rule, it is usually a requirement to “tumble” the pages, with the 2nd side being “upside-down”, relative to the first side. This is so that if the documents are bound at the top, both sides of a page can be viewed, without needing to rotate the physical file itself.