Tenth Court of Appeals
Oral Argument Procedures
- The Clerk calls the court into session promptly at 9:00 a.m. unless an alternative time has been designated.
- The Chief Justice calls the Docket. Generally, causes will be heard in order according to their cause number. As the cause number is announced, the attorneys involved should stand, state their name and which party they represent, and indicate to the Court if they are ready to proceed. Failure to respond at Docket call constitutes a waiver of oral argument by that party.
- After calling all of the causes to be submitted that day, the Chief Justice will call the individual causes in order. Participants in later proceedings may wait outside the courtroom but must be present when their case is called.
- Oral argument is limited to twenty minutes for the appellant's opening argument, twenty minutes for the appellee's argument, and five minutes for the appellant's rebuttal. A timer on the podium indicates the precise time remaining during argument. For twenty-minute arguments, a yellow summation light is displayed when three minutes remain. For five-minute arguments, the yellow summation light is displayed when one minute remains. When the time expires, a red light is displayed and the argument should end.
- Every issue the appellant desires to present to the Court during oral argument must be fully presented during appellant's opening argument. An issue not raised during appellant's opening argument or addressed in the appellee's argument may not be raised on rebuttal.
- All causes to be argued have been discussed by the Court and its legal staff in a pre-submission conference. The Court is generally familiar with the facts, and Counsel should not dwell unnecessarily on them.
- Authorities cited during oral argument that are not contained in the briefs must be submitted to the Clerk and all opposing parties by letter-brief not later than the Friday following oral argument. The opposing party may respond to the new authority in a letter-brief filed by the following Friday.
- After the appellant's rebuttal argument, the cause is officially submitted for decision and the parties are free to leave. Please note, however, that others will be presenting arguments to the Court and everyone should exit the courtroom with as little disruption as possible.
- After all of the causes have been submitted, the Court and its legal staff meet in the courtroom for a post-submission conference. Attorneys, parties, and spectators are asked to leave the courtroom promptly at the conclusion of the Docket.
- The court does not allow operation of broadcasting or recording devices in the court-room during oral argument, i.e., no photographs, video recordings, or audio recordings may be made of oral arguments.
- The court asks that all cellular telephones, beepers, and other devices which emit an audio alert signal be turned off or set to a silent mode while in the courtroom.
- Unlike many other courtrooms in which the judges enter and exit through a separate doorway, the physical layout of the regular courtroom and the judges' offices makes it necessary for the judges and the legal staff to pass through the courtroom and among the lawyers and spectators before court and during breaks. So that no appearance of impropriety is created, the judges and legal staff will not engage in conversation with the lawyers or spectators, other than to exchange casual greetings.