TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
RE: Rule 34, N.D.R.App.P.; Oral Arguments
The Committee had a preliminary discussion about proposed changes to Rule 34 at its January 24-25, 2002, meeting. Deputy clerk of court Colette Bruggman explained that the Court desires flexibility regarding hearings on appeals to the Court. Consequently, the clerk of court's office was opposed to amending Rule 34 to mirror the December 1, 1998, amendments to F.R.App.P. 34.
Therefore, while the proposed changes to Rule 34 presented here are in the spirit of the 1998 amendments to the federal rule, the substantive changes in Rule 34(a) are designed to reflect the specific concerns of our Court.
Rule 34(a)(1) provides that any party may file, or the court may require, a statement explaining why oral argument should or should not be permitted. Rule 34(a)(2) provides that oral argument may be denied if the supreme court decides that oral argument is unnecessary in a given case.
The proposed revisions to Rule 34(a) give the Supreme Court a tool to conserve judicial resources and prevent dilatory and frivolous proceedings. The Supreme Court has the power to exercise such control. See Williams v. State, 405 N.W.2d 615, 624-625 (N.D. 1987); United Bank of Bismarck v. Young, 401 N.W.2d 517, 518 (N.D. 1987); KFGO Radio v. Rothe, 298 N.W.2d 505, 510-513 (N.D. 1980).
The remaining changes to Rule 34 are intended to be stylistic in nature. The language and organization of the rule are amended to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.