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Bar News - July 6, 2007


Court Rule Changes Move Forward

 

The NH Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules has forwarded to the Supreme Court a series of rules changes affecting all levels of the Court, and including changes governing the conduct of retired judges in private mediation work, and the rules of evidence.

           

Written comments on the proposed changes are being solicited through Friday, Aug. 31, 2007, to be sent to the Clerk of the Supreme Court, or via e-mail to rulescomment@courts.state.nh.us.

           

The changes, contained in a 72-page PDF that includes 29 appendices, are found at: http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/orders/20070003.pdf

 

Most of these changes were already submitted to public hearings in either December 2006 or June 2007, and may be put out for comment again by the Supreme Court before adoption. In its submission letter to the Court, the committee did not vote to recommend that the Supreme Court hold a public hearing upon its annual submission. 

            (In italics are descriptive material added by Bar News.)

           

A.  SUPREME COURT RULES

           

Supreme Court Rule 3 re definition of “mandatory appeal.”  Definition amended to include only the first appeal filed by a party from a final order. Subsequent appeals on the same case, such as a petition to modify a divorce decree, will not be considered a mandatory appeal. 

           

Supreme Court Rule 21(6-A) re automatic extensions of time. No changes to the temporary rule now in

effect that allows for automatic extensions of 15 days for most appeals. 

            Supreme Court Rule 33 re nonmembers of the New Hampshire bar. Clarifies process for non-member attorneys to appear for a client in proceedings, including a pro hac vice fee of 85 percent of the current dues for the NHBA. (Similar changes also were made to Superior Court Rule 19, District Court Rule 1.3C, and Probate Court Rule 19.) 

           

Supreme Court Rule 37 re attorney discipline system and Rule 37 a. Allows the attorney discipline system to issue discretionary monetary sanctions against a disciplined attorney in the form of assessment of costs and expenses pursuant to Rule 37 (19).

           

Supreme Court Rule 38, Canon F and Supreme Court Rule 38 Section B regarding the Judicial Conduct Committee. Recommends adoption, without changes, of temporary rules now in effect governing services provided by a retired judge serving as a private mediator or arbitrator.

           

Supreme Court Rule 39. Recommends adoption of temporary rules now in effect regarding the structure of the Judicial Conduct Committee.

           

Supreme Court Rule 55(5) re public protection fund.  Sets forth procedures for review of decisions made by the committee to the NH Supreme Court.

 

B.  SUPERIOR COURT RULES

           

Superior Court Rule 19 re nonmembers of the New Hampshire bar. Clarifies process for non-member attorneys to appear for a client in proceedings, including a pro hac vice fee of 85 per cent of the current dues for the NHBA.

           

Superior Court Rule 61-B re late reports by guardians ad litem. Makes permanent a temporary rule establishing late fees and reporting of instances of late filing of reports by guardians ad litem.

           

Superior Court Rule 97-A re joinder and severance.  Defines when criminal offenses can be considered related and when parties can move for joinder of such charges.

           

Superior Court Rule 104 re payment of fines.  Provides for situations in which a defendant indicates an inability to pay a required fine, such as imposition of deferred or periodic payment, or provision of community service at a rate of $10 per hour.

           

Superior Court Rule 169-A re access to confidential records.  Makes permanent a temporary rule regarding procedures for petitioning for access to financial affidavits.

           

Superior Court Rule 170 re mediation.  Adoption of an entirely new Rule 170 governing the use of mediation  processes, scheduling and reporting, and guidelines for conduct of Rule 170 mediators.

           

Superior Court Rule 185 re answers and cross-petitions in domestic relations cases. Specific changes made regarding answers to those seeking alimony.

           

Superior Court Rules 201 to 202-E re domestic relations. Temporary rules in effect regarding decrees, stipulations, parenting plans, standard order of paragraphs for decrees are made permanent without changes.

 

C.  DISTRICT COURT RULES

           

District Court Rule 1.3C re nonmembers of the New Hampshire bar.  Clarifies process for non-member attorneys to appear for a client in proceedings, including a pro hac vice fee of 85 per cent of the current dues for the NHBA.

           

District Court Rule 1.25 re late reports by guardians ad litem. Makes permanent a temporary rule establishing late fees and reporting of instances of late filing of reports by guardians ad litem.

           

District Court Rule 1.26 re access to confidential court records. Makes permanent a temporary rule regarding procedures for petitioning for access to sealed or confidential court records.

           

District Court Rule 2.7 re payment of fines.  Provides for situations in which a defendant indicates an inability to pay a required fine, such as imposition of deferred or periodic payment, or provision of verified community service at a rate of $10 per hour.

           

District Court Rule 2.9-A re joinder and severance. Defines when criminal offenses can be considered related and when parties can move for joinder of such charges.

           

D.  PROBATE COURT RULES

           

Probate Court Rule 19 re nonmembers of the New Hampshire bar. Clarifies process for non-member attorneys to appear for a client in proceedings, including a pro hac vice fee of 85 per cent of the current dues for the NHBA.  

           

Probate Court Rule 61-B re late reports by guardians ad litem. Makes permanent a temporary rule establishing late fees and reporting of instances of late filing of reports by guardians ad litem.

           

Probate Court Rule 169-A re access to confidential court records. Makes permanent a temporary rule regarding procedures for petitioning for access to sealed or confidential court records.

 

E.  FAMILY DIVISION PILOT PROGRAM RULES

           

Family Division (General) Rule 12 re late reports by guardians ad litem. Makes permanent a temporary rule establishing late fees and reporting of instances of late filing of reports by guardians ad litem.

           

Family Division (General) Rule 13 re access to confidential court records.    Makes permanent a temporary rule regarding procedures for petitioning for access to sealed or confidential court records.

 

F.  RULES OF EVIDENCE

           

Evidence Rule 609 re impeachment by evidence of conviction of crime. Making several changes regarding the rules of evidence as it applies to a witness convicted of a crime “if it can be readily determined that establishing the elements of the crime required proof or admission of an act of dishonesty or false statement by the witness.” Also covering the impact of pardons upon impeachment of such a witness.

 

 

 

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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