You must put all the documents relevant to your case in a three ring binder called a “petition record”. The goal of the petition record is to put all the documents together to make it easy for the judge to find things and understand your case.
You must make two petition records: One copy of the petition record will go to the judge, and the other is for you. You must also give a copy of the index to your petition record to all the other parties so that they can make their own petition record that will match yours.
The petition record must contain:
- a title page with the style of proceeding taped to the front of the binder;
- an index;
- a copy of your petition;
- a copy of any responses to petition filed; and
- a copy of every affidavit filed that you or the other parties will be referring to at the hearing (Note: Do NOT include an affidavit if its only purpose is to prove that you served someone).
If you and the other parties decide to do written arguments, they can go in the petition record too, though its not required.
The title page
Start by printing out your title page. You will need two; one for each binder. Tape the title page to the front of the petition record binder. Use clear tape to tape the edges of the paper to the binder.
This is a blank petition record title page that you can download and fill in: Blank Petition Record Title Page
This is an example petition record title page that you can use as a guide: Example Petition Record Title Page
An index is a list of all the documents inside the binder and the tab number where they can be found. It is similar to a table of contents. If you do not have tabs, number all the pages of the petition record in order and put the number of the first page of each document in the index. Use copies of documents for the petition record, not originals. The index should be the first page inside your petition record binder.
The filed court documents
Put each court document (the petition, all responses to petition, and all affidavits) in the petition record binder behind the tab listed in the index. The other parties should serve you with two copies of their documents so that you have an extra copy for the petition record. Make sure the copies you put in the binder for the judge are clean copies, without any extra notes or writing on them.
In WCAT judicial reviews, the lawyer for WCAT will often take all the important evidence that was sent in for the WCAT hearing and put it together in a “certified record”. The certified record is like a very big affidavit, so WCAT will give you an extra copy to put in the petition record. The problem is the certified record is often so big that it won’t fit inside. If the certified record won’t fit in your petition record, you can just attach it to the back of the binder using big rubber bands. You should still list the certified record in the index to your petition record, but just put a piece of paper that just says “certified record bound separately” behind the actual tab in the binder where the certified record should go.
The written argument
If you wish, you can also put a written argument in your petition record, along with a list of any legal cases or laws you will be referring to. Do not include actual copies of the legal cases or laws, just include a list. The actual copies go in a separate binder (see below). If other parties have given you a written argument, they can go in the binder too.
Filing your petition record and serving the index
You will need to file the court’s copy of your petition record before 4:00 p.m. on the business day that is one full business day before the date set for the hearing. For example, if the hearing is set for a Wednesday, you will need to file the petition record by 4:00 p.m. on the Monday of that same week (assuming there are no statutory holidays that week). If your hearing is set for a Monday, you will have to file the petition record by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday (again, assuming there are no statutory holidays). The court does not like storing petition records, so the registry will not accept your petition record more than 3 business days before your hearing.
The registry needs an extra copy of the petition that you filed attached to the petition record. You should make an extra copy of your filed petition and highlight Part 1 –“Orders Sought”. This just confirms what orders you will be asking the judge to make. Then use an elastic band to attach the highlighted copy of the filed petition to the front of the petition record binder that you will be filing.
Take it to the court registry. Tell them your hearing date and say that you need to file the petition record. They will stamp it and take the binder so that the judge will have it at your hearing.
You must also serve the other parties with a copy of just the index of your petition record before 4:00 p.m. on the business day that is one full business day before your hearing is set (the same deadline as the deadline for filing your petition record). The other parties should already have copies of all the documents that go in the petition record, so the index will let them make their own binder that matches yours. (NOTE: make sure that you have given the other parties a copy of your written argument if you are using one.)