Civil Motion Practice FAQs: Superior Court of New Jersey

Civil Motion Practice in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division & General Equity

NJ Business Litigation Law FirmRepresenting yourself pro se in the Superior Court of New Jersey can be a daunting task. But if you’re brave enough to try, here are some of important questions and answers that you should read along with links to free legal forms provided by the Superior Court of New Jersey.  You will need Adobe Acrobat reader to download PDF forms from the New Jersey Judiciary’s website, as well as any PDF forms appearing directly on our website.

What is a motion?
When do courts schedule motions?

Courts hear motions on specified days (usually Fridays) on the court calendar called motion days. Generally, motion days are scheduled every 2 weeks on a Friday.  The New Jersey Judiciary publishes regularly scheduled motion days on its website.

How do I file a motion?

You must file a notice of motion with the Clerk of the County court where your matter is pending, which is a form used to notify the court and all opposing parties that the moving party is seeking a specific ruling or order from the court. If you want the opportunity to appear in court and argue the motion in the presence of the judge, then your notice of motion must contain a statement that ORAL ARGUMENT IS REQUESTED.

In addition to submitting a notice of motion, you also have to submit a certification or affidavit (a certification is a written statement you make when you file your papers with the court in which you state that all the information contained in the papers is true to the best of your knowledge), a proposed form of order memorializing the relief you’re asking for, a certificate of service proving that you delivered the motion to the other parties or counsel in the case, and sometimes a legal brief or memorandum of law depending upon the complexity of the issues you’re asking the court to rule upon.

In addition, you must pay a filing fee (presently $30) and provide the court with a self-addressed stamped envelope for return of the conformed order – otherwise you may not receive the court’s decision on your motion.  Make sure the correct docket number (case number) appears on your motion papers.   Your papers should be clear and concise.   If the judge doesn’t understand what you’re asking him or her to do then chances are they will deny your motion.

Are there any instructions online that will help me understand how to file a motion?

Yes. The New Jersey Judiciary’s website publishes a pro se motion kit that provides extensive instructions and samples of motion pleading forms with “fill-in the blanks” that you can type directly from your computer.

Can I check online if my motion has been scheduled?

Yes.  The New Jersey Judiciary maintains a civil motion calendar database where you can check on the status of your motion.

Should I show up in court on the date my motion is scheduled?

Not necessarily. Even if you have asked for oral argument in your motion papers it doesn’t mean the judge is required to grant your request.   So before you spend time traveling to the courthouse under the assumption that the motion judge is conducting oral argument on your motion, you should check with judge’s law clerk or secretary to confirm whether or not the judge will be conducting oral argument.   In most instances, when a judge wants to hear oral argument the judge will direct a member of his staff to notify you by telephone of the date and time, and ask you to notify the other parties in the case.

Are there any specific court rules governing civil motion practice in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division & General Equity?

Yes. Rule 1:6 of the New Jersey Court Rules sets forth the general procedures and requirements for filing motions and briefs at the trial court level.

In addition, there are other court rules that apply to specific motions such as Rule 1:10 that governs the procedure for seeking to hold a litigant in contempt, Rule 4:23 that governs the procedure where a party has failed to cooperate with pretrial discovery obligations, Rule 4:40 which governs motions for direct judgment made during or after a trial, Rule 4:46 which governs the procedure for requesting summary judgment on a portion or the entirety of a case, Rule 4:49-1 which governs the procedure for requesting new trials or amendments to judgments and orders, Rule 4:50 which applies to motions seeking to vacate a judgment or order, and Rule 4:52 which governs the procedure for filing orders to show cause seeking temporary restraints and other injunctive/emergent relief.

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