Hot Off The Press: The 2021 Edition of the N.C. Appellate Style Manual


It is like Christmas morning for legal nerds like me.  The latest edition of the North Carolina Appellate Style Manual has been published!  You can download the 2021 Edition of the Style Manual here.

As noted in Fox Rothschild’s Appellate Practice Blog, the Style Manual is “[p]ublished by the North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Rules Committee,” and serves as a great “place to start for any formatting and procedural questions you face in an appeal in North Carolina’s Appellate [C]ourts.”[1]

The 2021 Edition continues to reflect all of the great content that North Carolina appellate practitioners have come to know and love, but here’s the skinny on the two notable additions:  

  • Aligns with the latest and greatest Appellate Rules. The 2021 Edition of the Style Manual aligns with the latest and greatest version of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure, which was officially published and codified on January 14, 2021.  With one exception, the Appellate Rules have largely remained unchanged since the Style Manual was last revised in December 2019.  In November 2020, however, the Supreme Court of North Carolina amended several of North Carolina’s Appellate Rules to reflect an updated process for ordering and filing transcripts, which now applies to appeals noticed on or after January 1, 2021.  To aid in this transition process, the Transcript Contract and Document Section of the Style Manual now reflects two separate subsections—Section II(A), which highlights the newly amended transcript rules that apply to all appeals on or after January 1, 2021; and Section II(B), which outlines and provides examples of the former transcript process that remains applicable in appeals noticed on or before December 31, 2020.
  • Includes a new Formatting and Citation Section. The last seven pages of the 2021 Edition of the Style Manual hashave been added to provide a consolidated resource to address common formatting and citation questions.  For example, this new section includes additional information regarding margin sizes, acceptable fonts, signature blocks (including for e-filed documents), and how and when practitioners should utilize North Carolina’s newly adopted universal citation format. 

If you have any questions or just want to chat about exciting topics, like North Carolina’s new universal citation format, please do not hesitate to contact me at As always, I would love to talk nerdy with you.

As Editor of the North Carolina Appellate Style Manual, I would also gladly welcome your candid feedback about the content of the 2021 Edition and/or your thoughts about what we can add or change in the next edition.  (Emphasis on the word “candid.”  Although discovering a typo – or worse, a misplaced comma – will slice my heart, please let me know.  I have health insurance, and hearts mend.  My goal is to make each edition of the Style Manual even better than the last.) 

[1] Obligatory Disclaimer: The Style Manual is intended to be an initial resource to help navigate over some of the procedural hurdles that practitioners commonly face when a matter is appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court or Court of Appeals.  However, practitioners should only utilize the Style Manual in conjunction with their independent and close review of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure.

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