RULE 615. EXCLUSION OF WITNESSES
At the request of a party the court shall order witnesses excluded so that they cannot hear the testimony of other witnesses, and it may make the order on its own motion. This rule does not authorize exclusion of (i) a party who is a natural person, or (ii) an officer or employee of a party that is not a natural person designated as its representative by its attorney, or (iii) a person whose presence is shown by a party to be essential to the presentation of the party's cause.
Rule 615 is taken from Rule 615 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. It provides that it is mandatory for a court to exclude witnesses when so requested by a party. The mandatory demand of this rule marks a departure from prior North Dakota law, which was that the exclusion of witnesses was a matter within the court's discretion. Tice v. Mandel, 76 N.W.2d 124 (N.D. 1956).
Rule 615 was amended, effective March 1, 1990. The amendments are technical in nature and no substantive change is intended.
SOURCES: Minutes of Joint Procedure Committee: March 24-25, 1988, page 12; December 3, 1987, pages 15-16; June 3, 1976, page 5; October 1, 1975, page 6. Rule 615, Federal Rules of Evidence; Rule 615, SBAND proposal.
CONSIDERED: 29-07-13, 29-07-14, NDCC.