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2011-10-20-01

The Supreme Court of South Carolina

RE: Expediting Appeals from Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings,
Adoption Proceedings, and/or Department of Social Services
Actions Involving Custody of a Minor Child


O R D E R


In recognition of the need for stability in children's lives, the Supreme Court of South Carolina and the South Carolina Court of Appeals will expedite consideration of any appeal or petition for a writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals from termination of parental rights proceedings, adoption proceedings, and/or Department of Social Services actions involving the custody of a minor child.  To facilitate expediency, there will be a presumption against granting motions for extensions of time to file petitions, returns, briefs, records, and other documents.  A motion for an extension of time will only be granted in the most extraordinary of circumstances and for the most compelling reasons in the interest of justice. 

As to appeals to the Court of Appeals, the Court of Appeals shall, consistent with its current practice, expedite appeals as follows.  Once the case is assigned to a panel, oral argument will be held, if at all, at the next practicable term of court.  Notice of oral argument will be sent at least fifteen days prior to the scheduled argument.  A written opinion from the court shall be entered within thirty days of being assigned to a panel or hearing oral argument, whichever is later.  However, if the case warrants additional consideration, the time for filing an opinion may be extended.

As to matters before this Court, a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals in such cases shall be given priority and will be considered by the Court as expeditiously as possible.  Where certiorari is granted or where the matter is pending before the Supreme Court on direct appeal, oral argument shall be held, if at all, at the next practicable term of Court after the briefs are filed.  Notice of oral argument will be sent at least fifteen days prior to the scheduled argument.  The Court shall issue a written opinion within thirty days after the case being submitted for consideration or within thirty days after hearing oral argument.  However, if the case warrants additional consideration, the time for filing an opinion may be extended.   

IT IS SO ORDERED.

s/Jean Hoefer Toal                                   
Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal

Columbia, South Carolina
October 20, 2011