RULE 103. RULINGS ON EVIDENCE
(a) Effect of erroneous
ruling. Error may not be predicated upon a ruling which admits or
excludes evidence unless a substantial right of the party is affected, and
(a) Preserving a Claim of Error. A party may claim error in a ruling to admit or exclude evidence only if the error affects a substantial right of the party and:
(1) Objection. In case the ruling is one admitting evidence, a timely objection or
strike appears of record, stating the specific ground of objection, if the specific ground was
not apparent from the context; or
(1) if the ruling admits evidence, a party, on the record:
(A) timely objects or moves to strike; and
(B) states the specific ground, unless it was apparent from the context; or
(2) Offer of proof. In case the ruling is one excluding evidence, the substance of
evidence was made known to the court by offer or was apparent from the context within
which questions were asked.
(2) if the ruling excludes evidence, a party informs the court of its substance by an offer of proof, unless the substance was apparent from the context.
(b) Not Needing to Renew an Objection or Offer of Proof. Once the court rules definitively on the record at trial, a party need not renew an objection or offer of proof to preserve a claim of error for appeal.
(b) Record of offer and ruling. The court may add any other or further statement
shows the character of the evidence, the form in which it was offered, the objection made,
and the ruling thereon. It may direct the making of an offer in question and answer
(c) Court's Statement About the Ruling; Directing an Offer of Proof. The court may make any statement about the character or form of the evidence, the objection made, and the ruling. The court may direct that an offer of proof be made in question-and-answer form.
(c) Hearing of jury. In jury cases, proceedings shall be conducted, to the extent
so as to prevent inadmissible evidence from being suggested to the jury by any means, such
as making statements or offers of proof or asking questions in the hearing of the jury.
(d) Preventing the Jury from Hearing Inadmissible Evidence. To the extent practicable, the court must conduct a jury trial so that inadmissible evidence is not suggested to the jury by any means, such as making statements or offers of proof or asking questions in the hearing of the jury.
(d) Errors affecting substantial rights. Nothing in this rule precludes taking notice
affecting substantial rights although they were not brought to the attention of the court.
(e) Taking Notice of Error. A court may take notice of an error affecting a substantial right, even if the claim of error was not properly preserved.
Rule 103 was amended, effective March 1, 2014.
The purpose of subdivision (a) is to give the trial court an adequate basis for making a
ruling, and to create a record
which that will permit informed appellate
review. See generally
Signal Drilling Co. v. Liberty Petroleum Co., 226 N.W.2d 148 (N.D. 1975). See also State
v. Haakenson, 213 N.W.2d 394 (N.D. 1973); Grenz v. Werre, 129 N.W.2d 681 (N.D. 1964).
As to rulings made by a court in nonjury cases, the North Dakota Supreme Court has stated
that "the In a non-jury case, the introduction of allegedly inadmissible
evidence in a nonjury
case will rarely be reversible error ." Signal Drilling, supra, at 153, quoting
Schuh v. Allery,
210 N.W.2d 96, 99 (N.D. 1973).
Subdivision (b) was added, effective March 1, 2014, to clarify that a party need not renew an objection or offer of proof once the court "rules definitively" on the record at trial. A definitive ruling is reviewed in light of the facts and circumstances before the trial court at the time of the ruling. If the relevant facts and circumstances change materially after the ruling has been made, those facts and circumstances cannot be relied upon on appeal unless they have been brought to the attention of the trial court by way of a renewed, and timely, objection, offer of proof, or motion to strike.
(b) (c) encourages the trial court to add to the record
any statement that may
aid the appellate court in its review of evidentiary rulings. See the related discussion of
43(c), NDRCivP, in Signal Drilling, supra, at 153.
(d) (e) is a statement of the doctrine of plain error,
but omits the word "plain."
The omission was meant to signify that errors affecting substantial rights should be corrected
whether or not they are "plain" or "obvious." Cf. Rule 52, NDRCrimP and Rule 61,
Rule 103 was amended, effective March 1, 2014, in response to the December 1, 2011, revision of the Federal Rules of Evidence. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.
Sources: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes
: of January 26-27, 2012,
pages 28-30; April
8, 1976, page 14; October 1, 1975, page 2. Rule
Fed.R.Ev.103 , Federal Rules of Evidence;
Rule 103, SBAND proposal.
Considered: Rules 43(c) , 46, 51(c), and 61, NDRCivP; Rules 30(c), 51, and 52,
Cross Reference: N.D.R.Civ.P. 43 (Evidence); N.D.R.Civ.P. 46 (Objecting to a Ruling or Order); N.D.R.Civ.P. 51 (Instructions to Jury); N.D.R.Civ.P. 61 (Harmless Error); N.D.R.Crim.P. 30 (Jury Instructions); N.D.R.Crim.P. 51 (Preserving Claimed Error); N.D.R.Crim.P. 52 (Harmless and Obvious Error).