Administrative Rule 23 - NORTH DAKOTA PATTERN JURY INSTRUCTION COMMISSION
Rule 1. Authority and Policy.
(a) Under Pursuant to the authority of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice in Sections 2 and 3 of
Article VI of the North Dakota Constitution, it is the policy of the North Dakota Judicial System to
provide information and assistance to judges and lawyers to enhance the efficiency of trial court
services by establishing a continuing mechanism to maintain currency of pattern jury instructions
in North Dakota.
(b) The goal of the North Dakota Judicial System is the development of pattern jury instructions
1. accuracy in the statement of the law;
2. juror comprehension of instructions;
3. impartiality of the instructions;
4. uniformity in the treatment of similar cases;
5. time savings in the trial court; and
6. reduction in appellate court workload.
(c) The Supreme Court recognizes that the assurance of the availability of current pattern jury
instructions is the ultimate responsibility of the North Dakota Judicial System. This Rule is
established to meet the administrative goal of improving court services in this area without
jeopardizing the independent authority of the Supreme Court to review on appeal individual uses of
pattern jury instructions.
Rule 2. North Dakota Pattern Jury Instruction Commission.
(a) There is established, within the North Dakota Judicial System, the North Dakota Pattern Jury
Instruction Commission consisting of twelve members. The Commission shall be composed of six
judges and six lawyers. The Board of Governors of the State Bar Association of North Dakota shall
appoint the six lawyer members to the Commission. The Chairman of the Judicial Conference, after
consultation with the Executive Committee, shall appoint the six judge members to the Commission.
The Commission shall annually elect a chairperson from among its members.
(b) Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation for their services, but
members who are not state employees are entitled to reimbursement for their actual expenses
incurred in the performance of their duties from available funds. Members who are state employees
shall be reimbursed through the agency of employment.
(c) Of the members initially appointed, as determined by lot, two of the appointees of the State
Bar Association and two of the appointees of the Judicial Conference shall be appointed for one year.
Two of the appointees of the State Bar Association and two of the appointees of the Judicial
Conference shall be appointed for two years. The remaining members shall be appointed for three
years. Thereafter, each appointment shall be for a three-year term.
(d) No member shall serve more than three successive three-year terms. Each member shall
serve until the member's successor is appointed.
(e) Staff services shall be provided for the Commission by contracting with any appropriate
agency. The contract for staff services shall be negotiated by the Commission in consultation with
the State Court Administrator.
(f) All reasonable and necessary expenses of the Commission, including the travel, food and
lodging expenses for members and the cost of providing staff services, shall be paid by the State
Court Administrator within available legislative appropriations.
Rule 3. Duties of the Commission.
The Commission shall:
(a) Review and study the statutory provisions and caselaw affecting jury instructions in civil and
criminal cases in North Dakota;
(b) Draft and publish a current set of pattern jury instructions to be used in civil and criminal jury
cases in North Dakota;
(c) Provide rules and procedures for review and comment by attorneys, judges, and the general
lay public on the pattern jury instructions prepared by the Commission;
(d) Provide rules and procedures for the direct distribution of the pattern jury instructions
adopted by the Commission to the judges and attorneys of the North Dakota Judicial System;
(e) Prepare a recommended biennial budget for the Commission for submission to the State
Court Administrator for submission to the Legislative Assembly within the judicial branch budget;
(f) Prepare and submit to the Chairman of the Judicial Conference and the President of the State
Bar Association of North Dakota an annual report on or before March May 1 of each year; and
(g) Adopt rules and procedures for the operation of the Commission which are not inconsistent
with these Rules.
Rule 4. Limitation.
All published pattern jury instructions shall show that they are published only for the benefit of the
bench and bar and that publication does not imply either approval or authoritative construction by
the Supreme Court.
Rule 5. Citation.
The North Dakota Pattern Jury Instruction Commission Rules may be cited NDPJICR.
Rule 6. Effective Date. These Rules shall take effect on March 1, 1990; amended effective September 13, 1995.
Rule 23 was adopted effective March 1, 1990; amended effective September 13, 1995; and July
SOURCES: Judiciary Standards Committee Meeting Minutes of March 1, 1985, pages 2–5;
North Dakota Constitution, Article VI, Sections 2 and 3; and AR 23 as adopted September 17,
1985, effective July 1, 1987; amended January 18, 1990, effective March 1, 1990; Supreme
Court Conference Minutes of September 13, 1995; amendments effective September 13, 1995.