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A New Year and New Terms

January 3, 2011

As we enter a new year, we also enter a new season of action by the Georgia Supreme Court.  The Court docketed 547 requests for writs of certiorari in calendar year 2010 and granted 42 of those requests.  The Court has scheduled four days of oral argument for this month, which we will be detailing later this week. But entering a new year also means three new terms of the court for 2011.  This year’s terms of the Court are:

  • January Term: Begins January 3, 2011 and ends on April 14, 2011 (second term cases must be disposed of by March 30, 2011).
  • April Term: Begins on April 18, 2011 and ends on July 31, 2011 (second term cases must be disposed of by July 15, 2011).
  • September Term: Begins on September 5, 2011 and ends on December 16, 2011 (second term cases must be disposed of by December 1, 2011).

Under Georgia law, the January Term starts on the first Monday of January, the April Term begins the third Monday of April, and the September Term begins the first Monday in September.  The terms come to an end on specified statutory dates unless extended by the Court (see O.C.G.A. § 15-2-4).

Under the Georgia Constitution, Article 6, Section 9, Paragraph 2, the Supreme Court of Georgia must dispose of every case at the term for which it is docketed or the next succeeding term.  This is known as the two-term rule in Georgia.  A decision on a case in its second term cannot be rendered in the last 15 days of a term.

The Court assigns cases to specific terms, so for example, the Court could begin assigning cases to the January 2011 term in September of the previous year.  But after being assigned, the case must be decided by the end of the second term unless the Court extends its consideration of that particular case.  A case that comes before the Court on a petition for certiorari is not subject to any time limits until the Court grants certiorari, but usually the Court decides whether to grant petitions within four months of docketing.

We look forward to bringing you the most current information and updated statistics throughout all three terms in 2011.


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