Rule 2: Suspension of Rules.



For good cause, including the interest of expediting decision upon any matter, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, or Court of Criminal Appeals may suspend the requirements or provisions of any of these rules in a particular case on motion of a party or on its motion and may order proceedings in accordance with its discretion, except that this rule shall not permit the extension of time for filing a notice of appeal prescribed in Rule 4, an application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court from the denial of an application for interlocutory appeal by an intermediate appellate court prescribed in Rule 9(c), an application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court from an intermediate appellate court’s denial of an extraordinary appeal prescribed in Rule 10(b), an application for permission to appeal prescribed in Rule 11, or a petition for review prescribed in Rule 12.

[Amended by filed January 31, 2003, effective July 1, 2003.]

Advisory Commission Comments.

The primary purpose of this rule is to make clear the power of the appellate courts to suspend the requirements or provisions of any of these rules in a particular case. The courts are thus empowered to relieve litigants of the consequences of noncompliance with the rules in those circumstances in which it is appropriate to do so. The need for this power is the result of two principal considerations. These rules, as do most rules of law, necessarily speak in somewhat general terms. Otherwise, the rules would be overburdened with qualifications, exceptions, specifications, and provisos. In addition, no person or group of persons can possibly foresee all the situations life may churn up. This rule, therefore, permits the necessary individualization of the law in particular cases, and provides the source of authority for the courts to formulate law in situations not currently foreseeable.

The exceptions to this rule prohibit the appellate courts from extending the time for taking an appeal as of right, applying for permission to appeal from an intermediate appellate court to the supreme court, and for petitioning for review in those rare cases in which the Court of Appeals directly reviews orders of an administrative agency. Those times are specified in Rules 4, 11, and 12. Since filing a notice of appeal is an essential step necessary to a valid appeal of right, this step should not generally be waivable inasmuch as the rights of parties remain uncertain during the time available for filing a notice of appeal. Similar considerations prompted the other two exceptions. But see Advisory Commission Comment [2014] to this rule, discussing limited waiver provisions set out in Rules 4(a) and 11(b).

The rule envisions that the appellate court may act on its own motion or on motion of a party. A motion by a party should be made in the manner provided in Rule 22. If the appellate court does suspend the requirements or provisions of these rules, proceedings thereafter will be had in accordance with the discretion and direction of the court.

The final clause prohibiting extensions in no way affects computation of time under T.R.A.P. 21. For example, if the thirtieth day to file a notice of appeal falls on a holiday, the notice could be filed on the next business day.

Advisory Commission Comment [2003].

The rule was amended to clarify that the filing deadlines to the Supreme Court under Rules 9(c) and 10 are jurisdictional, like those in Rules 4, 11 and 12.

Advisory Commission Comment [2014].

Rule 2 bars an appellate court from extending the time for filing a notice of appeal pursuant to Rule 4(a) and from extending the time for filing one of the listed applications for permission to appeal. Rules 4(a) and 11(b), however, grant the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Supreme Court, respectively, the discretionary authority to waive the pertinent time period if a notice of appeal or an application for permission to appeal pursuant to Tenn. R. App. P. 11 is not timely filed in a criminal case. (See Rule 11(b) for two types of criminal appeals in which the waiver provision in that rule does not apply.) The distinction between a prohibited extension under Rule 2 and a permissible waiver under Rules 4(a) and 11(b) is that an extension is prospective (i.e., granting a motion for an extension of time to file), while a waiver is retrospective (i.e., waiving an untimely filing in a criminal appeal, in the court's discretion and "in the interest of justice," depending on the reason(s) for the untimely filing).

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