A Rose by Any Other Name?

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The voters of Maryland passed a Constitutional Amendment changing the name of the Court of Appeals of Maryland to the “Supreme Court of Maryland.”  It also changed the name of the Court of Special Appeals to the “Appellate Court of Maryland.”

The Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure issued a supplemental report on December 12, 2022, to adopt new Rule 1-101.1.  The Committee Note states:

There are hundreds of references to the former names of those courts throughout the Maryland Rules, and the process of updating those references to conform to this Rule is underway

The new Rule clarifies terminology in the Maryland Rules.  The proposal states:

In these Rules, wherever the term appellate court appears with initial capital letters [“Appellate Court”], the term means the Appellate Court of Maryland. Wherever the term appellate court appears with lower case initial letters [“appellate court”], the term, as applicable under the circumstances, may refer to any court that is exercising appellate jurisdiction.

The new rule, however, does not address citation issues.  For example, if a brief or legal memo refers to a 2021 decision, should the issuing Court be referenced as the “Court of Appeals of Maryland,” the title when the decision issued, or the “Supreme Court of Maryland,” the Court’s new name?  One clue may be found on the Court’s website.  There, where older reports were submitted to the Court of Appeals, the website now states “Submitted to the Supreme Court.”  For example, the 176th Report of the Rules Committee, dated April 5, 2013, was submitted to the “Supreme Court.”


The January 30, 2023, 214th Report of the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure states: “By the time this Report was written and filed, the Constitutional Amendments changing the names of the two appellate courts to the Maryland Supreme Court and the Appellate Court of Maryland, respectively, had taken effect, so we have used those names to match what will be in the Rules. When addressing historical matters – where a Rule came from, for example – we have used the name of the Court at the time.” [emphasis added].