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RULES OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

ADMINISTRATIVE RULES 35 TO 61

Rule 51. Rule-Making Procedures.


A. Operating Procedures

   
(1) Scope and Purpose.

        (a) These procedures are adopted to provide for comments and suggestions by the public, the bench and the bar to aid the Supreme Court in discharging its rulemaking responsibilities in the areas of procedure in all the courts.

        (b) They shall apply to all amendments or additions to such rules adopted or approved by the court, whether proposed by the court or recommended by the Advisory Committee on Rules.

    (2) Responsibilities of Advisory Committee on Rules. The Advisory Committee shall have the following responsibilities:

        (a) To receive and assess suggestions and proposed rules from courts, judges, the bar, and the public regarding the rules for which it is responsible.

(b) To hold at least one meeting each year at which a quorum is present, which shall be a public meeting.

(c) To consider the entire body of rules for which it is responsible by periodically reviewing each separate set of rules.

(d) To take appropriate steps to ensure that the public, the bench and the bar have an opportunity to comment upon matters before the Committee, and to hold such hearings as the Committee deems appropriate.

(e) To consider the impact of any proposed rule or amendment upon existing statutes or pending legislation, and to include in any submission of proposed rule changes to the Court a statement of the Committee's views on such impact.

(f) To submit annually proposed rules and amendments to the Court pursuant to section (3), or to report to the Court annually on or before August 1 that it has determined that no changes are in its opinion necessary at that time.

(g) To submit any proposed rule or amendment to the Court at any time when the Committee is of the opinion that the Court should take action on the proposal prior to the time for action on the next annual submission.

(h) To include in any submission to the Court a report of the comments received by the Committee from the public, the bench and the bar.

(i) To retain for a minimum of three years, as matters of public record, any written suggestions received from the public, the bench, and the bar.

    (3) Annual Submissions of Proposed Rules and Amendments.

        (a) On or before August 1 of each year, the Advisory Committee shall submit to the Court its final draft of any proposed rules or amendments by filing them with the Clerk of the Supreme Court.

        (b) Each submission shall be accompanied by the Committee's notes to the proposed changes and by any minority report which a member of the Committee may wish to submit.

        (c) If the Advisory Committee believes that a public hearing on its annual submission before the full Court under section (5) is desirable, it should so advise the Clerk of the Supreme Court at the time of its submission.

        (d) On the initiative of the Supreme Court, the chairman of the Advisory Committee, together with such other persons as he deems appropriate, shall present the Committee's proposals in a conference with the Court.

        (e) All submissions by the Committee shall be matters of public record.

    (4) Distribution of Annual Submissions and Invitation for Comment.

        (a) Upon receipt of the annual submissions and reports, the Clerk of the Supreme Court shall cause copies of proposed rules and amendments or the Committee's summary thereof, together with an invitation for comments, to be distributed as follows:

            (1) Copies to the New Hampshire Bar News and such other publications as deemed appropriate.

            (2) Copies to the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House and Chairpersons of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.

            (3) Copies to such other persons and places as the Chief Justice may direct.

        (b) The invitation shall call for comment on the proposed rules or amendments from members of the bench, bar, and public to be filed with the Clerk of the Supreme Court within a period of not less than 30 days from the distribution of the proposals.

        (c) Whenever the Committee proposes a lengthy rule, it shall prepare and submit a summary thereof for distribution. Whenever the Clerk distributes such a summary, he shall make provision for supplying the full text of the submission to any interested person upon reasonable request.

    (5) Optional Hearing on Annual Submissions. When the Supreme Court finds that the effectiveness of the rulemaking process will be enhanced thereby, it may order that a hearing before the full Court be held at a time and place convenient to the Court, the bar and the public. At the hearing the chairman of the Advisory Committee, or his designee, shall orally summarize its proposed rules and amendments and the reasons therefor. Members of the bar and the public may reserve time in which to make oral comments upon the proposals by so notifying the Clerk prior to the commencement of the hearing and may also file written comments or alternative proposals with the Clerk at any time before the end of the next business day following the hearing. The time and place of the hearing shall be advertised in at least one newspaper of statewide distribution not less than 14 days prior to the hearing or otherwise as ordered by the Supreme Court. The advertisement shall state where copies of the proposed changes, or summaries thereof, may be obtained.

    (6) Action by the Court. It is the intention of the Court to act upon all annual submissions on or before the next following October 15, or the next business day thereafter.

    (7) Special Cases. The Court may dispense with these procedures in cases of minor technical amendments and in the case of an emergency or other extraordinary situation. Except for cases of technical amendments, the Court will afford such notice and opportunity for comment and hearing as may be practicable.

    (8) Submissions Other Than Annual Submissions.

        (a) When the Advisory Committee makes a submission of a proposed rule or amendment separate from its annual submission, the Committee shall comply with the contents requirements of sections (3) and (4) and shall accompany the submission with a statement of i) its reasons for believing that the Court should take action on its proposals prior to the time for action on the next annual submission, and ii) its recommendation as to public notice, opportunity for comment, and optional hearing on its proposal.

        (b) When the Supreme Court requests the Committee to consider a proposed rule or amendment and to report on the same before the next annual submission, the Committee shall promptly solicit comments in accordance with section (2)(d) to be filed within 30 days and shall, after considering the impact of such proposal in accordance with section (2)(e), submit its report thereon to the Court within 30 days of receiving such comments or within such shorter period of time as the Court may request.

        (c) The Supreme Court shall make an appropriate order as to public notice, opportunity for comment, and hearing on the proposed rule or amendment submitted separately from the annual submission.

    (9) Distribution of New Rules or Amendments. Following adoption of new rules or amendments, the Clerk of the Supreme Court shall promptly cause copies thereof to be distributed.

    (10) Effective Date of Rules Changes. The effective date of all new rules or amendments shall be as ordered by the Supreme Court.

B. Appointment of Advisory Committee on Rules

    (1)  There shall be an Advisory Committee on Rules, which shall be composed of sixteen members as follows:

(a)  One active or retired judge from each of the following courts shall be appointed by the supreme court: district court, probate court, superior court, and supreme court.

(b)  Two attorneys shall be appointed by the supreme court.

(c)  Three lay persons shall be appointed by the supreme court.

(d)  One member shall be appointed by the Governor.

(e)  The president of the senate, or the president's designee.

(f)  The speaker of the house, or the speaker's designee.

(g)  One clerk of court shall be appointed by the supreme court.

(h) One member of the New Hampshire Bar Association Board of Governors and one member of the Committee on Cooperation with the Courts shall be appointed by the president of the New Hampshire Bar Association.

(i) One active or retired judge, master, or administrator from the family division shall be appointed by the supreme court.

    (2)  Appointments by the supreme court shall, where possible, be made from the Committee on Judicial Conduct, the Committee on Professional Conduct, the New Hampshire Bar Association's Committees on Civil Procedure, Evidence and Ethics, and such other committees as may be either studying or enforcing rules for the administration of justice.  All such committees shall channel recommended changes through the Advisory Committee on Rules and shall serve as its sub-committees for specific areas of rule-making.

    (3)  A vacancy in the office of the committee shall occur:

(a)  when a member ceases to be a member by resignation or otherwise;

(b)  when a judge, master, clerk, or administrator ceases to hold the office which he or she held at the time of selection;

(c)  when a lawyer ceases to be admitted to practice in the courts of this State or is appointed to a judicial office;

(d)  when a lay person becomes a lawyer or a judge;

(e)  when a legislative member ceases to be a member of the general court;

(f) when a New Hampshire Bar Association Board of Governors member ceases to be a member of the Board of Governors or when the Committee on Cooperation with the Courts representative ceases to be a member of the Committee on Cooperation with the Courts.


    (4)  Members appointed by the Governor, and the president of the New Hampshire Bar Association shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority.

    (5)   The secretary of the committee shall be the clerk of the supreme  court or any other person designated by the supreme court.

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