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Superior Court Civil Rules Table of Contents

RULES OF THE SUPERIOR COURT
OF THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE APPLICABLE IN CIVIL ACTIONS

CIVIL RULES 1 TO 54

VII.  TRIALS

Rule 36. Standing Trial Orders - Procedures

(a)  Addressing the Court.  Anyone addressing the court or examining a witness shall stand.  The rule may be waived if the person is physically unable to stand or for other good cause.  No one should approach the bench to address the court except by leave of the court.

(b)  Opening Statements and Closing Arguments.  Opening statements shall not be argumentative and shall not be longer than 30 minutes unless the court otherwise directs.  Closing arguments shall be limited to 1 hour each, unless otherwise ordered by the court in advance. Before any person shall read to the jury any excerpt of testimony from a transcript prepared by the designated court transcriber, he or she shall furnish the opposing party with a copy thereof.

(c)  Copies of Documents for Court.  Counsel shall seasonably furnish for the convenience of the court, as it may require, copies of the specifications, contracts, letters or other papers offered in evidence.

(d)  Examination of Witnesses.

    (1)  Only one counsel on each side will be permitted to examine a witness.

    (2)  A witness cannot be re-examined by the party calling him or her, after his or her cross-examination, unless by leave of court, except so far as may be necessary to explain his or her answers on his or her cross-examination, and except as to new matter elicited by cross-examination, regarding which the witness has not been examined in chief.

    (3)  After a witness has been dismissed from the stand, the witness cannot be recalled without permission of the court.

    (4)  No person, who has assisted in the preparation of a case, shall act as an interpreter at the trial thereof, if objection is made.

    (5)  Attorney as Witness.

        (i)  Compelling Testimony. No attorney shall be compelled to testify in any cause in which he or she is retained, unless the attorney shall have been notified in writing previous to the commencement of the term of trial that he or she will be summoned as a witness therein, and unless he or she shall have been so summoned previous to the commencement of the trial.

        (ii)  Participation as Advocate. An attorney who gives testimony at trial or hearing shall not act as advocate at such trial or hearing unless the attorney’s testimony relates to an uncontested issue, or relates to the nature and value of legal services rendered in the case, or unless the court determines that disqualification of the attorney would work unreasonable hardship on the attorney’s client.

(e)  Exceptions Unnecessary.  Formal exceptions to non-evidentiary rulings or orders of the court are unnecessary, and for all purposes for which an exception has heretofore been necessary it is sufficient that a party, at or before the time the ruling or order of the court is made or sought, makes known to the court by pleading or orally on the record the action which the party desires the court to take or his or her objection to the action requested by a party opponent, provided that in each instance the party has informed the court of the specific factual or legal basis for his or her position. 

(f)  Objections.  When stating an objection, counsel will state only the basis of the objection (e.g., “leading,” “non-responsive,” or hearsay”), provided, however, that upon counsel’s request, counsel shall be permitted a reasonable opportunity to approach the bench to elaborate and present additional argument or grounds for the objection.

(g)  Submission of Case.  In all trials, the plaintiff shall put in his or her whole case before resting and shall not thereafter, except by permission of the court for good cause shown, be permitted to put in any evidence except such as may be strictly rebutting; and the defendant shall, before resting, put in his or her whole defense, and shall not thereafter introduce any evidence except such as may be in reply to the rebutting evidence.

(h)  Bench Motions.  Motions for dismissal or mistrial as well as offers of proof should be made at the bench and out of the hearing of the jury.


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