Rule 902. Manner of Taking Appeal.
(a) Requirements. An appeal permitted by law as of right from a trial court to an appellate court shall be taken by filing a notice of appeal with the clerk of the trial court within the time allowed by Pa.R.A.P. 903 (time for appeal). A notice of appeal must be filed in each docket in which the order has been entered.
(b) Failure to Comply with Requirements.
(1) Generally. Except as provided in subdivision (b)(2), the failure of a party to comply with the requirements stated in subdivision (a) does not affect the validity of the appeal, but the appeal is subject to such action as the appellate court deems appropriate. Such action may include, but is not limited to, remand of the matter to the trial court so that the omitted procedural step may be taken.
(2) Exception. The failure to file a notice of appeal within the time allowed by Pa.R.A.P. 903 (time for appeal) renders an appeal invalid.
Discretionary aspects of sentencing. Section 9781 of the Sentencing Code (42 Pa.C.S. § 9781) provides that the defendant or the Commonwealth may file a petition for allowance of appeal of the discretionary aspects of a sentence for a felony or a misdemeanor. The notice of appeal under this chapter (see Pa.R.A.P. 904 (content of the notice of appeal)), in conjunction with the requirements set forth in Pa.R.A.P. 2116(b) and 2119(f), operates as the petition for allowance of appeal under the Sentencing Code. No additional wording is required or appropriate in the notice of appeal.
In effect, the filing of the petition for allowance of appeal contemplated by the statute is deferred by these rules until the briefing stage, where the question of the appropriateness of the discretionary aspects of the sentence may be briefed and argued in the usual manner. See Pa.R.A.P. 2116(b) and note; Pa.R.A.P. 2119(f) and note.
Subdivision (a). Where cases are consolidated or related, applicable practice in the trial court may result in the order listing multiple dockets and being entered in one or more dockets. Under those circumstances, an appellant who intends to appeal the order in one docket should file a notice of appeal in the appropriate docket listing that docket number. An appellant who intends to appeal the order in more than one docket is required to file a separate notice of appeal in each docket, listing the appropriate docket number. See Commonwealth v. Walker, 185 A.3d 969 (Pa. 2018).
The appellant who intends to appeal the order in more than one docket is cautioned that no order of a court shall be appealable until it has been entered upon the appropriate docket in the trial court. Pa.R.A.P. 301(a)(1). The burden is on the appellant to cause entry of the order on the appropriate docket in anticipation of taking the appeal. Under these circumstances, the appellant is also cautioned to consider Pa.R.A.P. 301 when calculating the time allowed for filing the notice of appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 903. Pa.R.A.P. 301 provides that here under the applicable practice below an order is entered in two or more dockets, the order has been entered for the purposes of appeal when it has been entered in the first appropriate docket. Pa.R.A.P. 301(a)(1).
One exception has been recognized to the requirement of filing separate notices of appeal. An appellant may file a single notice of appeal from an order entered in the lead docket for consolidated civil cases where all record information necessary to adjudication of the appeal exists, and which involves identical parties, claims and issues. See Always Busy Consulting, LLC v. Babford & Co., Inc., 247 A.3d 1033, 1043 (Pa. 2021).
Subdivision (b). When it is not apparent from the notice of appeal that the requirements of Pa.R.A.P. 902 have been satisfied, an appellate court may remand, issue a rule, or take other steps that may require the appellant to respond with additional information or to correct a defect. See Commonwealth v. Young, 265 A.3d 462 (Pa. 2021), and the Note to Pa.R.A.P. 301 for examples of when an appeal may be remanded because an order has not been reduced to judgment or final decree and docketed.
If the appellant fails to respond or take the necessary steps to correct a defect, the appellate court may quash the appeal.
The failure to file a timely notice of appeal implicates the jurisdiction of the appellate court and requires quashal of the appeal. See 42 Pa.C.S. § 704(b)(1); Commonwealth v. Williams, 106 A.3d 583, 587 (Pa. 2014).
The provisions of this Rule 902 amended through December 10, 1986, effective January 31, 1987, and shall govern all matters thereafter commenced and, insofar as just and practicable, matters then pending, 16 Pa.B. 4951; amended May 28, 2014, effective July 1, 2014, 44 Pa.B. 3493; amended May 18, 2023, effective immediately, 53 Pa.B. 2940. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (408492) and (403233).
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