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Circuit Court District Division Rules Table of Contents

RULES OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE -- DISTRICT DIVISION

GENERAL RULES

Rule 1.3. Attorneys.


    A. Anyone addressing the Court or examining a witness shall stand, except by leave of court. No-one should approach the bench to address the Court except by leave of the Court.

   
B. No attorney shall be compelled to testify in any case in which he is retained, unless he shall have been notified in writing five days previous to the commencement of the trial that he will he summoned as a witness therein, and unless he shall have been so summoned previous to commencement of the trial.

    C. (1)  An attorney, who is not a member of the Bar of this  State (a "Nonmember Attorney"), shall not be allowed to engage in the trial or hearing in any case, except on application to appear pro hac vice, which will not ordinarily be granted unless a member of the Bar of this State (the "In-State Attorney") is associated with him or her and present at the trial or hearing. 

(2)  A Nonmember Attorney seeking to appear pro hac vice shall file a verified application with the court, which shall contain the following information:

   (a)  the applicant's residence and business address;

   (b)  the name, address and phone number of each client sought to be represented;

   (c)  the courts before which the applicant has been admitted to practice and the respective period(s) of admission;

   (d)  whether the applicant: (i) has been denied admission pro hac vice in this State; (ii) had admission pro hac vice revoked in this State; or (iii) has otherwise formally been disciplined or sanctioned by any court in this State.  If so, the applicant shall specify the nature of the allegations; the name of the authority bringing such proceedings; the caption of the proceedings, the date filed, and what findings were made and what action was taken in connection with those proceedings;

   (e)  whether any formal, written disciplinary proceeding has ever been brought against the applicant by any disciplinary authority in any other jurisdiction within the last five years and, as to each such proceeding: the nature of the allegations; the name of the person or authority bringing such proceedings; the date the proceedings were initiated and finally concluded; the style of the proceedings; and the findings made and actions taken in connection with those proceedings;

   (f)  whether the applicant has been formally held in contempt or otherwise sanctioned by any court in a written order in the last five years for disobedience to its rules or orders, and, if so: the nature of the allegations; the name of the court before which such proceedings were conducted; the date of the contempt order or sanction, the caption of the proceedings, and the substance of the court's rulings (a copy of the written order or transcript of the oral rulings shall be attached to the application); and

   (g)  the name and address of each court or agency and a full identification of each proceeding in which the applicant has filed an application to appear pro hac vice in this State within the preceding two years; the date of each application; and the outcome of the application.

   (h)  In addition, unless this requirement is waived by the district court, the verified application shall contain the name, address, telephone number and bar number of an active member in good standing of the Bar of this State who will be associated with the applicant and present at any trial or hearing. 

(3)  The court has discretion as to whether to grant applications for admission pro hac vice.  An application ordinarily should be granted unless the court finds reason to believe that:

   (a)  such admission may be detrimental to the prompt, fair and efficient administration of justice;

   (b)  such admission may be detrimental to legitimate interests of parties to the proceedings other than the client(s) the applicant proposes to represent;

   (c)  one or more of the clients the applicant proposes to represent may be at risk of receiving inadequate representation and cannot adequately appreciate that risk; or

   (d)  the applicant has engaged in such frequent appearances as to constitute common practice in this State.

        (4)  When a Nonmember Attorney appears for a client in a proceeding pending in this state, either in the role of co-counsel of record with the In-State Attorney, or in an advisory or consultative role, the In-State Attorney who is co-counsel or counsel of record for that client in the proceeding remains responsible to the client and responsible for the conduct of the proceeding before the court or agency.  It is the duty of the In-State Attorney to advise the client of the In-State Attorney’s independent judgment on contemplated actions in the proceeding if that judgment differs from that of the Nonmember Attorney.

            (5)  An applicant for permission to appear pro hac vice shall pay a non-refundable fee of $250.00; provided that not more than one application fee may be required per Nonmember Attorney for consolidated or related matters regardless of how many applications are made in the consolidated or related proceedings by the Nonmember Attorney; and further provided that the requirement of an application fee may be waived to permit pro bono representation of an indigent client or clients, in the discretion of the court.

    D. (1)  In all cases other than small claims cases filed in district division locations in which the electronic filing pilot program has been implemented, see http://www.courts.state.nh.us/circuitcourt/efilingcourts.htm, no person who is not a lawyer will be permitted to appear, plead, prosecute or defend any action for any party, other than himself or herself, unless of  good character and until there is on file with the Clerk: (1)  a power of attorney signed by the party for whom he or she seeks to appear and witnessed and acknowledged before a Justice of the Peace or Notary Public, constituting said person his or her attorney to appear in the particular action; and (2)  an affidavit under oath in which said person discloses  (a) all of said person's misdemeanor and felony convictions (other than those in which a record of the conviction has been annulled by statute), (b) all instances in which said person has been found by any court to have violated a court order or any provision of the rules of professional conduct applicable to nonlawyer representatives, (c) all prior proceedings in which said person has been permitted to appear, plead, prosecute or defend any action for any party, other than himself or herself, in any court, (d) all prior proceedings in which said person has not been permitted to appear, plead, prosecute or defend any action for any party, other than himself or herself, in any court, and (e) all prior proceedings in which said person’s permission to appear, plead, prosecute or defend any action for any party, other than himself or herself, in any court has been revoked.  Any person who is not a lawyer who is permitted to represent any other person before any court of this State must comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct as set forth in Professional Conduct Rule 8.5, and shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the committee on professional conduct.

   In small claims cases filed in district division locations in which the electronic filing pilot program has been implemented, see http://www.courts.state.nh.us/circuitcourt/efilingcourts.htm, no person who is not a lawyer will be permitted to appear, plead, prosecute or defend any action for any party, other than himself or herself, unless of good character and until there is on file with the Clerk: (1) a valid authorizing document constituting said person his or her attorney to appear in the particular action; and (2) a written statement in which said person discloses (a) all of said person's misdemeanor and felony convictions (other than those in which a record of the conviction has been annulled by statute), (b) all instances in which said person has been found by any court to have violated a court order or any provision of the rules of professional conduct applicable to nonlawyer representatives, (c) all prior proceedings in which said person has been permitted to appear, plead, prosecute or defend any action for any party, other than himself or herself, in any court, (d) all prior proceedings in which said person has not been permitted to appear, plead, prosecute or defend any action for any party, other than himself or herself, in any court, and (e) all prior proceedings in which said person's permission to appear, plead, prosecute or defend any action for any party, other than himself or herself, in any court has been revoked. This statement shall be signed and shall indicate the person's understanding that making a false statement in the pleading may subject that person to criminal penalties. Any person who is not a lawyer who is permitted to represent any other person before any court of this State must comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct as set forth in Professional Conduct Rule 8.5, and shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the committee on professional conduct.

(2)   Limited Appearance of Attorneys. To the extent permitted by Rule 1.2 of the New Hampshire Rules of Professional Conduct, an attorney providing limited representation to an otherwise unrepresented litigant may file a limited appearance in a non-criminal case on behalf of  such unrepresented party.  The limited appearance shall state precisely the scope of the limited representation, and the attorney’s involvement in the matter shall be limited only to what is specifically stated. The requirements of District Court Rule 1.3(E) shall apply to every pleading and motion signed by the limited representation attorney.  An attorney who has filed a limited appearance, and who later files a pleading or motion outside the scope of the limited representation, shall be deemed to have amended the limited appearance to extend to such filing.  An attorney who signs a writ, petition, counterclaim, cross-claim or any amendment thereto which is filed with the court, will be considered to have filed a general appearance and for the remainder of that attorney’s involvement in the case, shall not be considered as a limited representation attorney under these rules; provided, however, if such attorney properly withdraws from the case and the withdrawal is allowed by the Court, the attorney could later file a limited appearance in the same matter.

    E. (1)  All pleadings and the appearance and withdrawal of counsel shall be signed by the attorney of record or an associate or by a pro se party. Names, addresses, New Hampshire Bar identification numbers and telephone numbers shall be typed or stamped beneath all signatures on papers to be filed or served. No attorney or pro se party will be heard until an appearance is so entered.

         The signature of an attorney to a pleading constitutes a certificate that the pleading has been read by the attorney; that to the best of the attorney's knowledge, information and belief there is good ground to support it; and that it is not interposed for delay.

         If a pleading is not signed, or is signed with an intent to defeat this rule, it may be stricken and the action may proceed as though the pleading had not been filed.

       (2)  Pleading Prepared for Unrepresented Party.  When an attorney provides limited representation to an otherwise unrepresented party, by drafting a document to be filed by such party with the Court in a proceeding in which (a) the attorney is not entering any appearance, or (b) the attorney has entered a limited appearance which does not include representation regarding such document, the attorney is not required to disclose the attorney’s name on such pleading to be used by that party; any pleading drafted by such limited representation attorney, however, must conspicuously contain the statement
“This pleading was prepared with the assistance of a New Hampshire attorney.” The unrepresented party must comply with this required disclosure.  Notwithstanding that the identity of the drafting attorney need not be required to be disclosed under this rule, by drafting a pleading to be used in court by an otherwise unrepresented party, the limited representation attorney shall be deemed to have made those same certifications as set forth in Rule 1.3.E.(1) despite the fact the pleading need not be signed by the attorney.

    F. When any party shall change attorneys during the pendency of the action, the name of the new attorney shall be entered on the record.

    G. Whenever the attorney of a party withdraws an appearance in a civil case and no other appearance is entered, the Clerk shall notify the party by mail of such withdrawal, and unless the party appears pro se or through counsel by a date fixed by the Court, the Court may take such action as justice may require.

    H. In a criminal case, whenever the Court approves the withdrawal of appointed defense counsel, the Court shall appoint substitute counsel forthwith and notify the defendant of said appointment by mail.
   
    I. (1)  Other than limited representation by attorneys as allowed by Rule 1.3.D.(2), and Professional Conduct Rule 1.2(f)), no attorney shall be permitted to withdraw that attorney’s appearance in a case after the case has been scheduled for trial or hearing, except upon motion to permit such withdrawal granted by the Court for good cause shown, and on such terms as the Court may order.  Any motion to withdraw filed by counsel shall clearly set forth the reason therefor and contain a certification that copies have been sent to all other counsel or opposing parties, if appearing pro se, and to counsel's client at the client's last known address, which shall be fully set forth within the body of the motion. A factor which may be considered by the Court in determining whether good cause for withdrawal has been shown is the client's failure to meet his or her financial obligations to pay for the attorney's services.
    
    Upon receipt of a motion to withdraw, the Clerk shall schedule a hearing before the Court. Notice by mail shall be sent to all counsel of record, or parties if unrepresented by counsel, and to the client of withdrawing counsel, at the client's last known address as set forth in the motion.
    
    If withdrawing counsel's client fails to appear at said hearing, the Court may, in its discretion, and without further notice to said client, order the trial date continued or make such other order as justice may require.

       (2) Automatic Termination of Limited Representation.  Any limited representation appearance filed by an attorney, as authorized under Professional Conduct Rule 1.2(f)) and Rule 1.3.D.(2) of this Court, shall automatically terminate upon completion of the agreed representation, without the necessity of leave of Court, provided that the attorney shall provide the Court a “withdrawal of limited appearance” form giving notice to the Court and all parties of the completion of the limited representation and termination of the limited appearance.  Any attorney having filed a limited appearance who seeks to withdraw prior to the completion of the limited representation stated in the limited appearance, however, must comply with Rule 1.3.I.(1).

       (3) Automatic Withdrawal of Court-Appointed Counsel in Criminal Cases. In all criminal cases, the appearance of counsel for the defendant shall be deemed to be withdrawn thirty (30) days after sentence is imposed unless the sentence imposed was a deferred sentence or unless a post-sentencing motion is filed within said thirty (30) day period.  Where a deferred sentence is imposed, the appearance of counsel for the defendant shall be deemed to be withdrawn thirty (30) days after the deferred sentence is brought forward or suspended.  Where a post-sentencing motion is filed within thirty (30) days after imposition of sentence, the appearance of counsel for the defendant shall be deemed to be withdrawn thirty (30) days after the court rules on said motion.  Provided, however, that in any criminal case in which an appeal to the supreme court is filed, trial counsel shall remain responsible for representing the defendant in the supreme court pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 32.

       (4) Automatic Withdrawal of Court-Appointed Counsel in Delinquency and Children in Need of Services Cases.  In all Juvenile Delinquency and Children in Need of Services matters brought pursuant to RSA 169-B and RSA 169-D respectively, the appearance of counsel for the child shall be deemed to be withdrawn thirty (30) days after the date of the Clerk’s notice of the dispositional order unless a post-dispositional motion is filed within that thirty (30) day period or the court otherwise orders representation to continue.  Where a post-dispositional motion is filed within thirty (30) days, the appearance of counsel for the juvenile shall be deemed to be withdrawn thirty (30) days after the court rules on said motion.  Where the court otherwise orders representation to continue, the order shall state the specific duration and purpose of the continued representation.  Counsel for the juvenile shall be deemed to be withdrawn immediately at the end of the ordered duration. 

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Circuit Court District Division Rules Table of Contents