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Changes to reliable electronic means rule effective Dec. 1 Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Amendments to N.D.Sup.Ct.Admin.R. 52 on reliable electronic means proceedings took effect on Dec. 1. 

Section 2 was amended to clarify the procedure for making a motion to request a reliable electronic means proceeding.

Under the amendments, prior to filing a motion to conduct a proceeding by reliable electronic means, a party must attempt to contact the other parties to determine whether they agree or object.

Unless good cause exists for a shorter timeline, a motion to conduct a proceeding by reliable electronic means must be served at least seven days before the proceeding. Any response must be served at least four days prior to the proceeding.

Because the rule sets out a specific procedure for motions with its own time deadlines, the requirements of N.D.R.Ct. 3.2 do not apply to motions under Rule 52.

Sections 3 and 4 of Rule 52 were amended to allow a civil or criminal trial to be conducted by reliable electronic means with the consent of the parties and the approval of the court. In a civil case, the court retains discretion to allow any witness to appear by reliable electronic means at a trial or other proceeding. In a criminal case, however, a witness may not testify at trial by reliable electronic means unless the defendant knowingly and voluntarily waives the right to have the witness testify in person.

Subsection 4(b)(3) was amended to eliminate the requirement that a court make a finding of necessity before allowing an attorney’s participation from a separate site in a guilty plea proceeding.

Finally, Section 6 was amended to allow the court to exercise its discretion on whether to hold a mental health proceeding by reliable electronic means. Under the amendments, the respondent or patient must be allowed to appear in person at any proceeding upon request. At the same time, the court may allow any witness at a mental health proceeding to appear by reliable electronic means.