Court of Chancery Adopts Word Count Limits for Briefs and Revises Font and Spacing Requirements for All Pleadings.
The Court of Chancery has amended Rule 171 to enhance the readability of briefs filed with the Court. All text in briefs and memoranda will have to be in Times New Roman 14-point typeface, be double spaced, except for quotations and footnotes, and have margins of not less than 1 inch on all sides. The page limits previously established in Rule 171 have been replaced with word limits, thus eliminating the need for attorneys to reduce the font size and change margins to stay within the page limits. Opening and answering briefs are now allotted 14,000 words. Reply briefs are now allotted 8,000 words. These provisions make the Chancery practice generally consistent with an option available in Federal Appellate Courts and a recent revision of the Delaware Supreme Court Rules.
Consistent with the changes to Rule 171, Rule 10 was amended to improve the readability of all other filings with the Court. All forms of papers will have to be in Times New Roman 14-point typeface, be double spaced, except for quotations and footnotes, and have margins of not less than 1 inch on all sides. Rule 10(a) clarifies how cases should be captioned, consistent with a standing order adopted in 2007. Subsection (b) was amended to make it consistent with the current best practice as recommended in this Court’s guidelines, by requiring responsive pleadings to set out the text of each allegation to which the pleading responds. Subsection (d) was revised to make it consistent with the font and spacing requirements of Rule 171.
The revisions to Rules 171 and 10 will take effect on April 1, 2014. Parties should be aware that revised Rule 171 may reduce the amount of content permitted in a brief and should take steps to address any inequities that may arise if a briefing schedule requires parties to file briefs both before and after the effective date of this rule. Under such circumstances, parties are encouraged to agree that all briefs filed under the schedule will conform to revised Rule 171.