Administrative Rule 12 - NORTH DAKOTA DOCKET CURRENCY STANDARDS FOR DISTRICT COURTS
Section 1. Statement of Policy.
a. A goal of the judicial system of North Dakota is prompt disposition of cases.
b. The Supreme Court recognizes the need to provide administrative mechanisms within the unified judicial system to maintain current trial court dockets. These trial court docket currency standards and procedures are established to meet this administrative goal.
c. These standards guide the management of the trial courts of North Dakota. However, these court management standards and procedures are not intended and may not form the basis to change or affect the substantive and procedural rights of the parties in any case. Further, a violation of these standards does not cause the dismissal of any case.
d. Adherence to these standards by trial judges requires lawyers to recognize consequent adjustments in local practice. Members of the bar should anticipate the prompt disposition of cases.
e. Trial court docket currency standards are established to assist judicial leaders in determining the need of particular parts of the unified judicial system and to assist presiding judges and individual judges in management of their caseload.
f. Basic accountability for docket currency rests with each individual judge. The formal unit of accountability for docket currency is the judicial district and the presiding judge. Because there are variations in case management techniques among the judicial districts, the assignment of accountability to the district permits flexibility in local management style while establishing uniform accountability among districts. Each judge is expected to participate actively within the judicial district.
g. Each presiding judge has the authority under AR 2 to assign cases and coordinate judicial services in order to maintain a current docket throughout the district. To this end, the presiding judges have been directed to take appropriate action to meet this goal. The Supreme Court, through the Chief Justice, has communicated to each presiding judge the Court's commitment to respond to any particular request for assistance in meeting the docket currency standards.
h. Each presiding judge should exercise the authority to assure a current docket within the judicial district. This authority includes assignment of cases among the judges of the judicial district (Sec. 8, AR 2), referral to the Advisory Board (Sec. 8, ND Local CtR), convening meetings of the judges within the judicial district (Sec. 7, AR 2), and supervision of all local administrative practice and procedure regulations by judges, clerks of court, and other officers and employees of the courts (Sec. 12, AR 2). The presiding judge may refer any matter to the Chief Justice for assistance.
i. These docket currency standards apply to civil and criminal cases filed in district court .They do not apply to formal or informal juvenile proceedings, trust cases, cases in municipal courts, probate cases, mental health proceedings, administrative traffic cases, criminal cases in which arrest warrants are outstanding, or criminal cases in which there is a deferred imposition of sentence under Section 12.1-32-02(4), NDCC.
Section 2. Time Standards.
1. Judgments in general civil cases must be entered within 24 months of the date the complaint was filed or within 90 days of the end of the trial, whichever is earlier.
2. Judgments in cases filed under the Administrative Agencies Practices Act must be entered within 120 days of the date the notice of appeal was filed.
3. Small claims judgments must be entered within 60 days of the date proof of service on the defendant was filed.
4. Orders disposing of motions must be entered within 90 days of oral argument or the filing of the last brief, whichever is later.
5. Orders establishing or enforcing child support must be entered within 90 days of the date the initiating document was filed.
1. Judgments must be entered within 180 days of the date the initial charging document was filed or within 90 days of the end of the trial, whichever is earlier.
2. Orders disposing of motions must be entered within 90 days of the date of oral argument of the filing or the last brief, whichever is later.
c. Juvenile Proceedings.
1. Orders of disposition must be entered within 150 days of a child being taken into custody for a child who is held in secure detention or 30 days after the final disposition hearing, whichever is sooner.
2. Orders of disposition must be entered within 150 days of the initial shelter care hearing if the child is in shelter care or 30 days after the final disposition hearing, whichever is sooner.
3. Orders of disposition must be entered within 150 days of the filing of a petition if a child is not in custody or 30 days after the final disposition hearing, whichever is sooner.
Section 3. Reporting Process.
a. According to timeframes established by the state court administrator, but at least twice each year, each judge will be provided a list of cases assigned to that judge which exceed docket currency standards.
b. Within 45 days of receiving the list of non-complying cases, the judge will make an annotation on the list indicating the status of each case which has not been disposed of and the date certain that a judgment, order, or next event aimed at expediting conclusion of the case will take place .A copy of the annotated list must be provided to the presiding judge.
c. The presiding judge shall promptly confer with other district judges of the judicial district to determine how to expedite and complete cases that exceed the standards.
d. Within 30 days of receiving the annotated lists from the judges, the presiding judge for good cause shown may waive application of the standard to any case. The presiding judge shall provide a copy of the annotated lists, indicating cases for which standards have been waived, to the state court administrator.
e. The state court administrator shall prepare a consolidated list of cases that do not comply with docket currency standards and provide the list to the chief justice and the presiding judge.
f. The chief justice shall take appropriate action to assure compliance with these standards .The chief justice for good cause shown may waive application of a standard to any case.
g. Within 30 days of sending the consolidated list to the chief justice, the state court administrator shall send to the Judicial Conduct Commission a consolidated list of cases for which standards have not been waived and which have not reached disposition. Each case submitted to the Commission constitutes a complaint against the judge assigned to the case.
This rule, as amended, is effective immediately.
Dated: January 23, 2003.
Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chief Justice
William A. Neumann, Justice
Dale V. Sandstrom, Justice
Mary Muehlen Maring, Justice
Carol Ronning Kapsner, Justice
Penny Miller, Clerk
Source: AR 12-1980, effective July 1, 1980; AR 2-1978, AR 2-1981; Section 8, ND Local Ct R. AR 12 amended December 22, 1982, effective November 1, 1983, and July 1, 1983. AR 12 amended March 14, 1985, effective July 1, 1985; amended November 16, 1994, effective January 1, 1995; amended, effective October 16, 1996; amended effective January 23, 2003.