Browse Previous PageTable of ContentsBrowse Next Page

Supreme Court Rules Table of Contents



Rule 18. Oral Argument.

(1) If the court determines that oral argument shall be held in a case, the parties shall be so notified.  Oral argument will probably not be held if the questions of law are not novel, and the briefs adequately cover the arguments; if the questions of law involve no more than an application of settled rules of law to a recurring fact situation; if the sole question of law is the sufficiency of the evidence, the adequacy of instructions to the jury or rulings on the admissibility of evidence, and the briefs refer to the record, which will determine the outcome.


 The court will notify the parties if oral argument is going to be held, but generally will not notify the parties that oral argument is not going to be held.  Pursuant to Rule 16, the parties have the opportunity in their briefs to request oral argument and to set forth reasons why the party believes oral argument is necessary or will be helpful to the court in deciding the case.  After submission of all briefs, the court will generally either issue an order scheduling oral argument, or issue an order disposing of the appeal.

(2) A party who has not filed a brief shall not be heard orally. A party who has filed a memorandum of law in lieu of a brief shall be deemed to have waived oral argument, but shall be heard orally if oral argument is nevertheless held.

(3) Oral argument shall be limited to not more than 15 minutes to a side (including questions by the court), except that, for good cause shown in the party's brief, the court may grant additional time.  See Rule 16(3)(h).  Without prior written approval, only one lawyer shall be heard for each side on the oral argument of a case.

If there are cross-appeals, they shall be argued together as one case and in the time of one case.

(4) Oral argument shall emphasize and clarify the written argument appearing in the briefs. The supreme court does not favor any oral argument that is read from briefs or from a prepared text.

(5) The party having the opening argument may, at the beginning of the argument, reserve a portion of the party's time for closing argument.

(6) The supreme court may, on its own motion or for good cause shown on motion of either party, advance any case for hearing and prescribe an abbreviated briefing schedule.

(7) A party wishing to waive oral argument may file: (a) a stipulation for submission on briefs without oral argument joined in by all parties not later than ten (10) days prior to the date scheduled for such argument; or (b) a motion to waive oral argument not later than twenty (20) days prior to the date scheduled for such argument. The court may require oral argument notwithstanding the filing of such stipulation or motion.

(8) The supreme court shall make available to the parties, attorneys, and members of the public duplicate copies of the recording of oral argument. Upon receipt of a written request for a duplicate recording of oral argument, the clerk shall release a copy of the recording except that no duplicate of an oral argument made confidential by statute or case law shall be released. The fee for each copy shall be $25.

Browse Previous Page
Table of ContentsBrowse Next Page

Supreme Court Rules Table of Contents