RULE 47.1 CERTIFICATION OF QUESTIONS
OF LAW BY STATE COURT
(a) Who May Certify Questions of Law. Any district court
or county court in its discretionmay submit a question of law pursuant tounder Section 32-24-01, N.D.C.C., to the supreme court for final determination by the use ofthrough a certification order.
(b) Contents of Certification Order and Supporting Documentation.
(1) A certification order must contain:
(i) Findings of fact
ofon all pertinentfacts needed to resolve the question of law.
TheA question of law formulated in sucha manner that it mayallowing the question to be answered by a yes or no answer. and the
(iii) The trial court's
answersanswer to each question.
(2) The certifying court shall transmit with the certification order any parts of the record and other documents
it deemsnecessary in answeringto answer the certified questions. The supreme court may require thatan original or copies of all or any portion of the record to be filed if in its opinion the record or portion thereof isnecessary in answeringto answer the certified questions.
(c) Procedure in Supreme Court. In supreme court proceedings, the parties shall retain the same designations as in the certifying court. The plaintiff in the certifying court shall file a brief with the clerk of the supreme court within the time specified by the trial court. The defendant shall file a brief in response to the brief of the plaintiff within the time specified by the trial court. Any party may request an extension of time pursuant to Rule 26(b), but promptness is required. Oral argument
shall beis governed by Rule 34.
(d) Costs. Fees and costs
shall beare the same as in civil appeals docketed before the supreme court and shallmust be equally divided by the parties unless otherwise ordered by the certifying court in its order of certification.
Rule 47.1 was amended, effective January 1, 1979; September 1, 1983; March 1, 1999.
This rule provides a method by which certain trial courts in this State may certify questions of law in civil or criminal cases to the Supreme Court for its determination. The certificationCertification is discretionary with the trial court, and a certified question need not be answered by the Supreme Court. See § 32-24-02, NDCC. An order by the trial court denying certification is not an appealable order. Schaff v. Kennelly, 69 N.W.2d 777 (N.D. 1955).
Subdivision (a), by reference, contains the requirements of § 32-24-01, NDCC. That statute states questions of law may be certified only if the case in which they arise depends "principally or wholly on the construction of the laws applicable thereto, and such construction or interpretation is vital, or of great moment in the cause." Subdivision (a) was amended in 1983, effective September 1, 1983, to delete an obsolete reference to a county court "with increased jurisdiction."
The certification order may be prepared by the court or the parties, but it must be transmitted to the Supreme Court by the clerk of the certifying court. See § 32-24-04, NDCC.
It is imperative that the Supreme Court be sufficiently apprised of the facts in the case.The questions of law must first be ruled upon by the certifying court, and any issues of fact necessary for the determination of the questions of law must also be found by the trial court.
The intent of subdivision (c) is to assure that the questions are presented to the Supreme Court as expeditiously as possible, with little delay in the final hearing and determination of the case.
Technical amendments were made to Rule 47.1, effective March 1, 1999, and the obsolete reference to "county court" was deleted.
SOURCES: Procedure Committee Minutes of April 30-May 1, 1998, page 11.
CONSIDERED: §§ 32-24-01, 32-24-02, 32-24-03, 32-24-04, NDCC.