The Supreme Court of North Carolina long ago observed that “the ‘substantial right’ test for appealability of interlocutory orders is more easily stated than applied.” Waters v. Qualified Pers., Inc., 294 N.C. 200, 208, 240 S.E.2d 338, 343 (1978). As “[n]o hard and fast rules exist” for determining whether an interlocutory order affects a substantial right, North Carolina appellate courts have long analyzed whether an interlocutory order affects a substantial right “on a case by case basis.” Estrada v. Jaques, 70 N.C. App. 627, 640, 321 S.E.2d 240, 249 (1984); Hausle v. Hausle, 739 S.E.2d 203, 206 (N.C. Ct. App. 2013) (quotation omitted).
To provide practitioners with a starting point for their research, the North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Rules Committee recently published the first edition of its “Guide to Appealability of Interlocutory Orders.” While not meant to address the nuances surrounding the appealability of every type of interlocutory order, this 45-page guide collects and organizes state appellate court opinions addressing the appealability of various types of interlocutory orders in a way that both seasoned and novice appellate practitioners should find useful.
As Chair of the Appellate Rules Committee for the past two years, I have been privy to the extraordinary amount of work that numerous committee members have put into creating the Guide. Join me in saying thank you to any committee members you know.
Finally, if you find the guide useful or have suggestions for a second edition, please submit feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or by conventional mail to the Appellate Rules Committee, North Carolina Bar Association, P.O. Box 3688, Cary, NC 27519.