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Bar News - October 15, 2010

New ‘Rules of the Road’ Proposed; Court Seeks Comments

The NH Supreme Court is seeking comment on a number of significant rule changes by Nov. 30. The preface to the order appears on page 34 and the entire order is published on the Court’s website. Click on What’s New to find the Sept. 17 rules orders.

Proposed amendments to rules include:
  • New procedural rules for criminal cases. This is the outgrowth of several years’ work to streamline procedure across all trial court levels.
  • Superior court rules. A new organizational scheme, with few changes to the substance of the rules, is proposed.
  • Code of Judicial Conduct. Among the changes is wording that clarifies that judges may make "reasonable efforts" to facilitate the ability of all litigants to be fairly heard by the court.
  • Medical malpractice screening panels. New rules clarify scheduling, procedures for considering conflicts, etc.
  • New rule on withdrawal from criminal cases. New rules for district and superior courts clarify that a withdrawal will be automatic 30 days after sentence is imposed unless the sentence is deferred or a post-sentencing motion is filed.
  • Mandatory IOLTA. Court proposes to require all attorneys who maintain client funds to establish interest-bearing pooled trust accounts for small amounts of funds held in trust or amounts held for short periods of time. Interest earned from IOLTA is distributed to nonprofit organizations by the NH Bar Foundation. IOLTA participation currently is an opt-out program.

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