No-Merit Brief Law and Legal Definition

No-Merit Brief is a brief filed by a court-appointed defense attorney of a criminal defendant. In such a brief the attorney wants to withdraw from the case on appeal, based on the belief that the appeal is frivolous. The brief states that the counsel did not find any arguable appellate issues. Instead of filing a brief on the merits, it simply requests that the appellate court independently examine the record for issues. This brief is also known as anders brief. It is named after the case, Anders v. California 386 U.S. 738 (1967).

According to the U.S. Supreme Court case, Anders v. California, the brief must show all possible arguable issues for appeal in order to meet the requirement that counsel be an "active advocate" for his/ her client. If counsel files an Anders brief, the defendant will have an opportunity to file his or her own brief.