TO: Joint Procedure Committee
FROM: Mike Hagburg
DATE: April 12, 2013
RE: Rule 501, N.D.R.Ev., Privileges Recognized Only as Provided
The 500 series of North Dakota's Rules of Evidence is derived from the Uniform Rules of Evidence, not from the federal rules. The uniform rules were originally promulgated in 1974. There were extensive amendments in 1986, a minor amendment in 1988, and additional amendments in 1999. Thirty-eight states have adopted all or part of the uniform rules, and any reliance on those states' interpretations of the rules in a North Dakota case would stem from the "uniformity" of the comparative rules. Therefore, staff has not attempted to rewrite any of the 500 series rules based on the federal form and style guidelines; instead only minor changes, such as eliminating the use of "shall," are proposed. In addition, the more recent amendments to the uniform rules will be presented for the committee to consider.
Amendments are proposed to Rule 501 to replace the term "writing" in the rule with the term "record." The proposed amendments are attached. This amendment is intended to account for electronic records and documents and is based on the 1999 amendment to Uniform Rule 501. A copy of the latest version of the uniform rule is attached. The use of the term "record" in the amendments seems consistent with the proposed definition in Rule 101.