On November 8, 2022, Maryland voters approved a constitutional amendment renaming Maryland’s two appellate courts by a margin of 75% to 25%. The change went into effect on December 14, 2022. Maryland’s highest court, formerly known as the Court of Appeals, is now named the Supreme Court of Maryland. Maryland’s intermediate court was previously the Court of Special Appeals and will now be known as the Appellate Court of Maryland. Additionally, the amendment declared that the “judges” of these courts would now be coined “justices.”
Former Chief Judge Barbera supported the name change prior to her retirement, asserting that many nonresidents of the state presumed that Maryland’s ultimate court would have the name “supreme” in its title and that the prior names caused unnecessary confusion. Before this amendment, New York and Maryland were the only states in the nation without a supreme court as the highest state court.
Moving forward, attorneys should pay close attention to the new changes. If lawyers list the previous names in the caption of their pleadings, the Judiciary has warned that the filing will be rejected, and the filer will be required to file a correction. To avoid any delays, it will be pertinent to ensure the correct titles are listed.
Written by associate Stephanie Broznowicz.