The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has adopted new briefing rules, effective December 1, 2013, that standardize citations to the record such that judges and their staff can instantly access electronic versions of the underlying documents. According to the Fifth Circuit’s clerk of court, the record citation change is designed to accommodate a court-developed software program that scans parties’ briefs and inserts a hyperlink to electronic versions of underlying documents. The Fifth Circuit is the first circuit to use the software, but has made it available to the other federal appellate and district courts.

The Fifth Circuit also has formally adopted a federal appellate rule change that does away with the requirement for a separate “statement of the case,” and instead combines procedural history with the relevant facts and issues. The rule describes the new consolidated section as “a concise statement of the case setting out the facts relevant to the issues submitted for review, describing the relevant procedural history, and identifying the rulings presented for review, with appropriate references to the record.”