In 2004, Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle directed the Juvenile Policy Board to review the Uniform Juvenile Court Act and to consider developing a system of juvenile rules. He wrote that "[t]here are uncertainties concerning application of existing rules in many areas in which there are simply no rules that effectively describe the procedures to be followed in handling cases that come before the juvenile court."
The Board completed its review of the Uniform Juvenile Court Act in 2006 and its proposed changes to the Act were considered by the legislature and became law in 2007. In the course of reviewing the Act, the Board identified several statutes that it believed should be reconstituted as rules. The Board formulated draft rules from these statutes as a starting point for developing a set of juvenile rules.
Board members come from all parts of North Dakota. As they discussed the first set of rule drafts, they worked to craft acceptable uniform procedures to govern matters that are now handled differently in different parts of the state. If the procedure for handling a matter was not set out in statute, rules from states that already have their own Rules of Juvenile Procedure, such as Minnesota and California, were used as models for new draft rules.
The Board formally began work on developing the juvenile procedure rules at its April 2007 meeting and has so far developed 17 draft rules.
Here is a summary of the rules:
Rule 1 - Scope and Purpose - this rule provides that the Rules of Juvenile Procedure will govern all matters under the Uniform Juvenile Court Act;
Rule 2 - Hearing Time - this rule sets out deadlines for hearings in juvenile matters;
Rule 3 - Contents of Petition - this rule indicates what items must be included in a juvenile petition and defines who can be a party to a juvenile matter;
Rule 4 - Interested Persons - this rule defines who, other than the parties, can formally participate in a juvenile matter;
Rule 5 - Summons - this rule deals with procedure for issuance of a summons, the contents of a summons, and some consequences of the issuance of a summons;
Rule 6 - Service of Summons - this rule sets out the methods that may be used for the service of a summons;
Rule 7 - Service After Summons - this rule provides for service of documents in a juvenile matter after commencement by service of a summons;
Rule 8 - Provisional Hearing - this rule lists requirements for provisional hearings conducted when service of the summons has been made by publication;
Rule 9 - Continuance - this rule indicates when continuances are allowed and sets out procedures for obtaining continuances;
Rule 10 - Presence; Default - this rule indicates when parties and attorneys have the right and responsibility to be present at court proceedings and when an order of default may be issued;
Rule 11 - Notice of Alibi Defense - this rule sets out requirements for claiming an alibi defense in delinquent or unruly child matters;
Rule 12 - Discovery - this rule provides procedures for conducting discovery in juvenile matters;
Rule 13 - Subpoena - this rule sets out subpoena requirements and procedures for issuing and serving a subpoena;
Rule 14 - Motions - this rule covers motions in juvenile matters, providing requirements for motions, indicating when a motion may be made and how it may be served, and setting out time limits and deadlines.
Rule 15 - Notice - this rule deals with the general requirement to provide notice of orders and judgments and specific requirements to provide notice in particular situations;
Rule 16 - Modification and Vacation of Orders - this rule sets out the circumstances that must exist before an order can be modified and the procedures for requesting modification of an order;
Rule 17 - Juvenile Court Lay Guardian ad Litem - this rule provides detailed guidelines for the appointment of lay guardians ad litem in juvenile court matters.