Legal motions are formal pleadings filed by a party moving the court. Motions are regulated by the local rules of the court. Some courts provide standard forms or templates for routine motions, such as a motions to dismiss a complaint, quash a subpoena or reconsider a case. Forms for motions vary by jurisdiction, but they generally include the same basic components.
Local rules of civil procedure may provide that motions, as pleadings, be appropriately captioned. Normally, captions include the jurisdiction, venue, style of the case (party names in the format of "plaintiff vs. defendant"), case number or civil action number and judge assigned to the matter. Since a motion is not the first pleading in a case, the style of the case may be abbreviated, using only the names of the first plaintiff and defendant followed by "et al." All of these parts must be completed on a motion form.
A form for legal motion may provide the heading for the kind of motion being filed. For instance, the form may include the heading "Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint." If no heading is included, the moving party must indicate the motion type with a heading.
Motion forms provide space for a moving party to set forth the facts and points of law in support of the motion. This section is the meat of the pleading, which supports the motion and provides grounds for the court to rule in favor of the motion.
Signature and Affidavit
Normally, motions must be signed, or they will be dismissed by the court. Forms for legal motions provide space for a party or counsel to sign the pleading. The party or counsel's signature certifies the veracity of the content in the pleading. Some motions are signed by an affidavit, which is a signature attesting to the evidence cited or mentioned in a motion that is witnessed and certified by a notary public commissioned by the state in which the matter pends. Courts may or may not require an affidavit to certify a pleading.
Certification of Service
Forms for legal motions provide a certification of service. A certification of service is simply the moving party's certification that any and all parties to a lawsuit will be mailed a true and accurate copy of the motion the original of which is being filed with the court. The moving party must sign the certification of service in addition to signing the pleading. The certification is sometimes attached on a separate page.