We review motion practice in the New Jersey state courts.


1.   Date and Time


Motions are generally held on and returnable alternate Fridays called motion days. On some holidays, the date will be changed, generally to a Thursday or the following Friday. The New Jersey Lawyer's Diary contains a list of motion days.


Motions must be noticed at least 16 days in advance of the return date, 28 days for summary judgment motions. Opposition papers are due 8    days prior. 


2.   Filing


New Jersey state courts do not yet have electronic filing. Instead with paper filing, the original of each motion is sent to the motions clerk in each county with a check for 50. Most practitioner include an additional copy for return of a stamped filed copy and a self-addressed envelope for return of the Court's order. The motion package should contain motion, certificate of service, supporting certification and brief, exhibits, and proposed form of order. A certification, similar to a declaration in federal court, is sufficient if it states with the signature:


                    I certify that the foregoing statements made by me are true. 
I am aware that if any of the foregoing statements made by me are willfully false, I am subject to punishment.


3.   Oral Argument


Oral argument must be requested and is then generally provided. New Jersey state court judges handle scheduling in two different ways. One group of judges simply schedules all the cases on the motion  calendar, sometimes as many as ten, for 9:00 A.M., and cases are taken as  lawyers arrive. Another group schedules hearings for specific times such as 10:30 A.M. Where a specific time is mandated, the lawyer should make sure he is present at that appointed time.


About 3/4 of cases are disposed of on the return date, with the judge entering the order that day or setting forth his decision on the record. Many decisions are being written beforehand, and modified only if the argument goes differently than expected.


4.   Sanctions, late filing


Occasionally papers will be served or filed late. The court rule permits service by mail which can lead to confusion. Many counsel for insurers serve papers by regular mail. An attorney could submit his opposition on Wednesday 9 days before the motion date, but it arrives on Saturday and is picked up on Monday,
leaving the movant, but one day to file a reply.


Courts generally do not exclude late-filed papers. The  more frequent course is to request a brief extension from the clerk for reply, or ask that the return date be adjourned two weeks to the next motion day.


Courts generally require consent though the lawyer who serves late papers and refuses adjournment may anger a judge. Another course for the movant is to
check if responding papers have arrived by Friday and then contact opposing counsel to request a faxed or emailed copy. Court clerks
prepare motions,
generally on the Wednesday before the Friday return date.


5.   Documents Available at Hearing


Attorneys should have pertinent papers readily available on the return date. Occasionally papers will be misplaced. New Jersey state court judges are
probably more willing to stray from the strict confines of the record than an appellate or federal court.



*the foregoing is designed to assist attorneys viewing this page. Procedures may vary and this page is not designed to provide legal counsel or advice regarding a specific case or filing and readers are urged to consult with counsel regarding specific questions.