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SCOTUS Sends Federal Rules Amendments to Congress

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

You thought that this was going to be just another uneventful Friday afternoon on First Street? Au contraire! The Supreme Court is rocking your world with rule changes today.

Earlier this week, Chief Justice John Roberts sent Congress proposed changes to all your favorite sets of federal rules: Appellate Procedure, Bankruptcy Procedure, Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence. Those proposals were posted on the Supreme Court’s website Friday afternoon.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 2072, the Supreme Court proscribes the general rules of practice and procedures, and the rules of evidence, but the Court isn't allowed to tinker with substantive rights. The proposed changes include amendments to:

The rule amendments were accompanied by excerpts from the Report of the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure to the U.S. Judicial Conference, containing the Committee Notes submitted to the Court for its consideration.

Those notes are compiled as part of the Conference's statutorily-mandated "continuous study of the operation and effect of the general rules of practice and procedure" employed by the federal courts. The Conference can recommend changes in and additions to the rules "to promote simplicity in procedure, fairness in administration, the just determination of litigation, and the elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay."

The amendments to the Federal Rules will take effect on December 1, 2013, and apply to all proceedings commenced in the future, and all existing proceeding to the extent practicable.

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