Administrative Rule 13 - JUDICIAL REFEREES

Effective Date: 1/1/1995

Obsolete Date: 3/1/2000

Section 1. Authority.

The 1985 Legislative Assembly provided for the appointment of judicial referees pursuant to House Bill 1586. Pursuant to Article VI, Section 3, North Dakota Constitution and Section 27-05-30 NDCC, the Supreme Court hereby adopts the following administrative rule relating to judicial referees.

Section 2. Statement of Policy.

It is the policy of the North Dakota Judicial System to provide for the qualifications, the extent and assignment of authority, procedure and the conduct of the role of judicial referees within the North Dakota Judicial System in each judicial district.

Section 3. Qualifications of Judicial Referees.

Minimum qualifications for judicial referees shall include:

(a) United States citizenship;

(b) physical residence in the judicial district of the appointment after appointment unless physical residence is waived by the presiding judge of the judicial district; and

(c) a license to practice law in the state of North Dakota; or a juvenile supervisor/referee meeting the requirements of Section 27-20-06(i) NDCC.

Section 4. Appointment.

The presiding judge, on behalf of all of the district court judges of the judicial district, shall execute in writing the appointment of all judicial referees, to serve at the pleasure of the district court judges of the judicial district. Judicial referees shall be compensated pursuant to the personnel system of the North Dakota Judicial System.

Section 5. Scope of Delegable Duties.

(a) A presiding judge, after consultation with the district court judges of the judicial district, may authorize a judicial referee to preside in any individual or class of proceedings pursuant to:

1. Title 14 NDCC, except contested divorce trials;
2. Chapter 27-20 NDCC; and
3. Chapter 28-25 NDCC.

(b) A judicial referee has such other authority of a district court judge as is necessary to carry out the delegated duties, including the issuance of orders to show cause, temporary restraining orders, temporary injunctions, and the power to impose remedial sanctions for contempt of court.

(c) The order issued under Subsection (a) of this section shall be reduced to writing and signed by the presiding judge of the judicial district. The order shall be filed with the clerk of district court of each county of the judicial district. The presiding judge shall send a copy of this document to the State Court Administrator. A copy shall be made available to any party upon request.

(d) Within the limits set forth in the written order of the presiding judge, district court judges may refer individual cases or classes of cases to a judicial referee by written order.

(e) After July 1, 1987, a judicial referee who hears matters pursuant to Chapter 27-20 NDCC shall not exercise supervision of personnel who supervise juveniles.

Section 6. Geographical Jurisdiction.

Each judicial referee shall have jurisdiction only within the judicial district of appointment and is expected to maintain an office as assigned by the presiding judge of the judicial district. A judicial referee may be appointed to temporary duty in another judicial district by the presiding judge of the judicial district, with the consent of the presiding judge of the receiving judicial district or by the chief justice pursuant to Article VI, Section 3, North Dakota Constitution.

Section 7. Proceedings on the Record.

Proceedings shall be heard on the record.

Section 8. Removal from Referee.

Any party to a proceeding before a judicial referee is entitled to have the matter heard by a district court judge, if written request therefor is filed by the party within three days after service of either initiating documents or other notice which shall inform them of this right.

Section 9. Standard of Conduct.

The Rules of Judicial Conduct shall be observed by each judicial referee.

Section 10. Recommendations.

(a) The findings and recommendations of the judicial referee are deemed to have the effect of an order of the district court until superseded by a written order of a district court judge.

(b) Upon the conclusion of a hearing before a judicial referee, the judicial referee shall promptly transmit written findings and recommendations for disposition to the judge. Written notice and copies of the findings and recommendations together with written notice of the right of review shall be promptly given to the parties.

(c) In the absence of a review pursuant to Section 11, a district court judge shall confirm, modify, or reject the findings and recommendations of the judicial referee in a written order of the court.

Section 11. Procedure for Review.

(a) A review of the findings and recommendations may be ordered at any time by a district court judge and shall be ordered if a party files a written request for a review within three days after receiving the notice in Section 10(b). The request for review shall state the reasons for the review.

(b) The review by a district court judge shall be a review of the record, unless the court orders a hearing of the proceeding.

Dated the 16th day of November, 1994, to become effective January 1, 1995.

Gerald W. VandeWalle, Chief Justice
Herbert L. Meschke, Justice
Beryl J. Levine, Justice
William A. Neumann, Justice
Dale V. Sandstrom, Justice

ATTEST:
Penny Miller, Clerk
North Dakota Supreme Court

SOURCE: Joint Procedure Committee Meeting Minutes of April 29-30, 1993, pages 2-3; Court Services Administration Committee Meeting Minutes of May 17, 1985, pages 2-4. Family Caselaw Referee Study Subcommittee of Court Services Administration Committee Meeting Minutes of April 19, 1985, pages 3-8; March 15, 1985, pages 1-6; February 22, 1985, pages 1-9; January 11, 1985, pages 2-8; and December 17, 1984, page 5. North Dakota Constitution, Article VI, Section 3; and Section 27-05-30 NDCC.

[Adopted as emergency rule effective June 13, 1985; readopted September 17, 1985; amended effective March 1, 1994; amended effective January 1, 1995, Supreme Court No. 940197.] 

Section 5 was amended, effective September 1, 2013, to reflect enactment of 2013 House Bill No. 1075 [2013 N.D. Sess. Laws ch. 241, §1], which added three categories of cases to the statutory list of proceedings that may be delegated to a judicial referee by a presiding judge: disorderly conduct restraining order cases, noncriminal game and fish violations, and review of administrative license suspensions for nonpayment of child support.

Section 5 was amended, effective March 1, 2012, to allow a presiding judge to authorize a judicial referee to preside in proceedings involving disorderly conduct restraining orders.

Section 5 was amended, effective March 1, 2014, to allow a presiding judge to authorize a judicial referee to preside in small claims and traffic court proceedings.

Section 5 was amended, effective March 1, 2015, to allow a presiding judge to authorize a judicial referee to preside in emergency guardianship proceedings.

Section 5 was amended, effective August 1, 2017, to allow a presiding judge to authorize a judicial referee to preside in sexual assault restraining order proceedings.

Section 5 was amended, effective March 1, 2018, to allow a presiding judge to authorize a judicial referee to preside in eviction and guardianship proceedings.

Section 5 was amended, effective January 1, 2019, to allow a presiding judge to authorize a judicial referee to preside in eviction and conservatorship proceedings.

Section 7 was amended, effective March 1, 2014, to clarify that small claims and traffic court matters decided by a judicial referee are not heard on the record.

Section 8 was amended, effective March 1, 2011, to increase the time to request a district court judge from five to seven days after service of initiating documents. A "proceeding" under this rule has the same meaning as a proceeding under N.D.C.C. § 29-15-21.

Section 11(a) was amended, effective March 1, 2011, to increase the time to request a review from a district court judge from five to seven days after service of the right to review. The time to respond to a request for review was increased from 10 to 14 days after service of notice of the request.

Section 11(a) was amended, effective March 1, 2014, to clarify that small claims and traffic court matters decided by a judicial referee are not reviewable or appealable.

SOURCE: Joint Procedure Committee Meeting Minutes of April 24-25, 2014, pages 10-12; September 26, 2013, pages 2-6; January 31-February 1, 2013, page 29; September 23-24, 2010, pages 14-15, 21; April 29-30, 2010, page 21; April 24-25, 2003, page 3; January 30-31, 2003, pages 21-23;April 25-26, 2002, pages 16-17; May 6-7, 1999, pages 14-15; April 29-30, 1993, page 2.Court Services Administration Committee Meeting Minutes of May 17, 1985, pages 2-4. Family Caselaw Referee Study Subcommittee of Court Services Administration Committee Meeting Minutes of April 19, 1985, pages 3-8; March 15, 1985, pages 1-6; February 22, 1985, pages 1-9;January 11, 1985, pages 2-8; and December 17, 1984, page 5. North Dakota Constitution, Article VI, Section 3; and Section 27-05-30 NDCC.

[Adopted as emergency rule effective June 13, 1985; readopted September 17, 1985; amended effective March 1, 1994; January 1, 1995; March 1, 2000; March 1, 2003; March 1, 2004; March 1, 2011; March 1, 2012; June 1, 2012; September 1, 2013; March 1, 2014; March 1, 2015; August 1, 2017; March 1, 2018; January 1, 2019.]

Effective Date Obsolete Date
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03/01/2018 12/31/2018 View
03/01/2018 01/01/2019 View
08/01/2017 03/01/2018 View
03/01/2015 08/01/2017 View
03/01/2014 03/01/2015 View
06/01/2012 03/01/2014 View
03/01/2012 06/01/2012 View
03/01/2011 03/01/2012 View
03/01/2004 03/01/2011 View
03/01/2003 03/01/2004 View
03/01/2000 03/01/2003 View
01/01/1995 03/01/2000 View