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Procedural rule amendments take effect Aug. 1 Friday, July 30, 2021

Amendments to the Civil, Criminal and Appellate rules, as well as the Rules of Court, become effective Aug. 1. In addition, on July 1, amendments to the Rules of Juvenile Procedure took effect. 

Amendments to Civil Rules 54 and 55 change the procedure for seeking costs in civil actions. Rule 54(e) is amended to allow for objections to be heard before costs and disbursements are inserted in the judgment and to require specific information to be provided when a motion seeking attorney fees is made.

Meanwhile, Rule 55 on default is amended to allow the court, in the case of a claim for a sum certain, to enter default judgment for the amount due plus costs and disbursements.

Criminal Rule 32.1 is amended to allow the court to modify an order deferring imposition of sentence if a petition for revocation is filed no later than 60 days after expiration or termination of probation or if there is an outstanding bench warrant in the matter. Previously, the court was required to complete any modifications of an order for deferral prior to the expiration of the 60-day period.

Two changes were made to Appellate Rule 34.  Under the amendments, if oral argument is scheduled and a party who did not initially request oral argument decides they want to participate, that party must file notice with the court. In addition, if an appellant wishes to reserve time for rebuttal at oral argument, they must notify the clerk immediately prior to the argument. Up to 10 minutes are allowed for rebuttal.

Rule of Court 3.2 on motions was amended to require a party seeking a hearing to specify in the notice whether the hearing will be for presenting evidence, oral argument, or both. In addition, new language was added to the rule creating a procedure for self-represented prisoners to request a hearing.

In general, the July 1 amendments to the Juvenile Rules update terminology and statutory references consistent with the July 1 amendments to the Juvenile Court Act, N.D.C.C. chs. 27-20.2, 27-20.3, and 27-20.4.

The Juvenile Court Act replaces the old Uniform Juvenile Court Act, which was found in N.D.C.C. ch. 27-20.  The new Act makes extensive changes intended to maintain public safety while also improving outcomes for children in the juvenile justice system.

One of the Act’s main modifications is eliminating the “unruly youth” classification and establishing a new “children in need of services” category. The Act requires that the majority of these children, such as truants and runaways, are referred to human services rather than being arrested and sent to court. It also extends the right to counsel to children in all case types.

Juvenile Rule 2 was amended to clarify hearing timelines for juvenile guardianship matters, cases involving children in protective care, and termination of parental rights cases.

A new statute under the Act, N.D.C.C. § 27-20.2-15, explains the meaning of “active efforts” under the Indian Child Welfare Act as well as defining other key terms and procedures related to treatment of Indian children. Juvenile Rule 4 on interested persons was amended to reference this statute.

Juvenile Rule 5 on the summons was amended to add new language requiring that a summons be directed to the child if the child is 14 or more years of age and the subject of a child in need of protection petition or of a guardianship petition. It remains the rule that, if a child is alleged to be delinquent, the summons must be directed to the child, regardless of age.

Rule 10 on presence and default was amended to clarify that, if a child is of sufficient age and competence, the child has the right to be present at all child in need of protection proceedings.

Amendments to Juvenile Rule 1 (Scope and Purpose), 3 (Contents of Petition), 6 (Service of Summons), 7 (Service After Summons), 8 (Provisional Hearing), 9 (Continuance), 11 (Notice of Alibi Defense),  11.1 (Child Competency to Proceed), 12 (Discovery), 13 (Subpoena), 15 (Notice), 16 (Modification and Vacation of Orders), 17 (Lay Guardian ad Litem), 18 (Disposition; Conditions), and 19 (Juvenile Records), are limited to updating statutory references and terminology. In particular, references to “unruly” children or acts have been eliminated from the rules.