RULE 47.1 CERTIFICATION OF QUESTIONS OF LAW BY DISTRICT COURT
(a) Certification of Question of Law by District Court.
(1) Conditions for Certification. Any district court, on its own motion or the motion of any party to a civil or a criminal proceeding, may order certification of a question of law to the supreme court when the following conditions are met:(A) there is a question of law involved in the proceeding that is determinative of the proceeding; and(B) it appears to the district court that there is no controlling precedent in the decisions of the supreme court.(2) Statement of Question. The district court may require the parties to submit proposed statements of the question of law to be certified and proposed statements of fact. A certification order may contain more than one question.
(3) Ruling by District Court. The district court must rule on the question of law before a certification order may be submitted to the supreme court.
(b) Certification Order.
(1) Issuance of Order Discretionary. The issuance of a certification order is within the discretion of the district court.
(2) District Court to Act Expeditiously. The district court must act in an expeditious manner in determining whether to certify a question of law and in issuing and forwarding a certification order to the supreme court.
(3) Contents. A certification order must contain:(A) A statement of facts relevant to the question certified, showing fully the nature of the controversy in which the question arose.(B) A question of law formulated in a manner allowing the question to be answered by a "yes" or "no. "(C) The district court's answer to the question.(4) Supporting Documentation. The district court must forward with the certification order any parts of the record and other documents necessary to answer the certified question. The supreme court may require the original record, or copies of all or any portion of the record, to be forwarded and filed with the certification order.
The certification order may contain a statement of the order and time within which the parties must serve and file their briefs.
(5) Proceeding may be Stayed. The district court may stay the proceeding in district court until the question has been answered or otherwise ruled upon by the supreme court.
(c) Consideration by Supreme Court.
(1) Supreme Court Has Discretion. The supreme court may refuse to consider a certification order if the court determines the question of law submitted is frivolous or interlocutory in nature, or not dispositive ofthe issues before the district court.
(2) Procedure in Supreme Court. Unless the district court specifies the order and time within which the briefs must be served and filed, all proceedings, including oral argument, in the supreme court will be governed by these rules. The parties retain the same designations in the supreme court as in the district court and the plaintiff will be deemed to be the appellant.
(3) Fees and Costs. Fees and costs are the same as in civil appeals docketed before the supreme court and must be equally divided among the parties unless the district court orders otherwise in its certification order. The supreme court, upon the motion of any party, may enter an appropriate order with respect to the assessment of fees and costs.
Rule 47.1 was amended, effective January 1, 1979; September 1, 1983; March 1, 1999; March 1, 2003.
Certification is discretionary with the trial court, and a certified question need not be answered by the supreme court. See paragraphs (b) (1) and (c) (1).
The certification order may be prepared by the court or the parties. The question of law must first be ruled upon by the certifying court, and any issues of fact necessary for the determination of the question must also be found by the certifying court. Generally the parties will stipulate to the facts.
The intent of paragraph (b) (2) is to assure that the questions are presented to the supreme court as expeditiously as possible.
Technical amendments were made to Rule 47.1, effective March 1, 1999, and the obsolete reference to "county court" was deleted.
Rule 47.1 was amended, effective March 1, 2003, to include the relevant provisions of N.D.C.C. ch. 32-24. With these amendments, N.D.C.C. §§ 32-24-01, 32-24-02, 32-24-03, and 32-24-04 are superseded. In addition, 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 April 25-26, 2002, pages 27-29; April 30-May 1, 1998, page 11.
SUPERSEDED: N.D.C.C. §§ 32-24-01, 32-24-02, 32-24-03, 32-24-04.