GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA

SESSION 2009

S                                                                                                                                                     1

SENATE BILL 862

 

 

Short Title:        Supreme Court Rule Making.

(Public)

Sponsors:

Senator Clodfelter.

Referred to:

Judiciary I.

March 26, 2009

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT to provide the supreme court with authority to revise the rules of civil procedure and the rules of evidence, SUBJECT TO amendment or veto by the general assembly.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  G.S. 7A-34 reads as rewritten:

" 7A-34.  Rules of practice and procedure in trial courts.

(a)        The Supreme Court is hereby authorized to prescribe rules of practice and procedure for the superior and district courts supplementary to, and not inconsistent with, acts of the General Assembly. Pursuant to the authority granted it under Article IV, Section 13, of the North Carolina Constitution, and as limited by this section, the General Assembly delegates authority to the Supreme Court to adopt and amend the rules of civil procedure and rules of evidence for the trial divisions. Rules of civil procedure and rules of evidence adopted pursuant to this section, once effective, have the force and effect of statutes and shall govern proceedings in the General Court of Justice.

(b)        Upon adoption of a new or amended rule of civil procedure or rule of evidence, the Supreme Court shall (i) cause the new or amended rule to be published in the North Carolina Register and (ii) notify the General Assembly and the Revisor of Statutes of the rule's adoption. The notification to the General Assembly and the Revisor of Statutes shall include a list of any sections of the General Statutes that the Court has identified as needing to be repealed or amended as a result of the new or amended rule.

(c)        The General Assembly may amend or veto any new or amended rule of civil procedure or rule of evidence before the rule becomes effective under this subsection. A new or amended rule of civil procedure or rule of evidence that is published in the North Carolina Register at least 25 days prior to the convening of a regular session of the General Assembly becomes effective on January 1 next after that regular session adjourns if no bill to amend or veto the new or amended rule (i) is ratified before that regular session adjourns and (ii) becomes law. For purposes of this section, "regular session adjourns" means (i) in a regular session held in an odd-numbered year, adjournment by joint resolution for more than 10 days; and (ii) in a regular session held in an even-numbered year, adjournment sine die. To the extent of a conflict between a rule that has become effective under this subsection and a section of the General Statutes that was listed in the notice to the General Assembly and the Revisor of Statutes under subsection (b) of this section, when the Supreme Court adopted the rule, the rule supersedes the statute.

(d)        The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or the Chief Justice's designee, may authorize any of the following changes or corrections to the rules of civil procedure and rules of evidence that have been adopted by the Supreme Court or amended by the Supreme Court or the General Assembly pursuant to this section:

(1)        Rearrange the order of rules and subparts of rules and of articles or other divisions of rules into groups.

(2)        Provide or revise titles for any such articles or other divisions and catchlines for rules as needed.

(3)        Reletter or renumber rules and subparts of rules in accordance with a uniform system.

(4)        Rearrange definitions and other lists in alphabetical order.

(5)        Correct a citation in a rule to another rule or law when the citation has become inaccurate because of the repeal or renumbering or relettering of the cited rule or law.

(6)        Correct spelling, grammatical, and typographical errors.

(7)        If an amended rule is published in the North Carolina Register with an error in any part of the rule's text that is not shown as being amended, restore the correct text.

(8)        Make any other changes in arrangement or in form that do not change the substance of a rule and are necessary or desirable for an accurate, clear, and orderly arrangement of the rules.

The Chief Justice, or the Chief Justice's designee, shall notify the General Assembly and the Revisor of Statutes of these changes or corrections. Subsections (b) and (c) of this section do not apply to changes and corrections to rules pursuant to this subsection.

(e)        Rules of civil procedure and rules of evidence adopted or amended pursuant to this section shall not be assigned a General Statutes code number. These rules may be cited as "N.C. R. Civ. P. ___" and "N.C. R. Evid. ____", as appropriate.

(f)         The Division of Legislative Drafting and Codification of Statutes of the Department of Justice, under the direction and supervision of the Attorney General, shall cause to be published in an appendix or appendices to the General Statutes of North Carolina:

(1)        All rules of civil procedure and rules of evidence, adopted or amended by the Supreme Court as provided in this section, that the General Assembly has failed to veto or amend under subsection (c) of this section.

(2)        All rules of civil procedure and rules of evidence amended by the General Assembly pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

These rules shall be annotated in the same manner as statutes, except that the Revisor of Statutes may include any additional annotations the Revisor deems appropriate.

(g)        The Chief Justice may appoint advisory committees of up to eight members each to advise the Supreme Court on the adoption and amendment of the Rules of Civil Procedure and the Rules of Evidence. Each advisory committee shall consist of trial and appellate judges and members of the North Carolina State Bar. In making recommendations to the Supreme Court under this subsection, an advisory committee shall provide a proposed new or amended rule, an explanatory note on the rule or amendment, and a written report explaining the advisory committee's action, including any minority or other separate views. Members of each advisory committee who are not officers or employees of the State shall receive compensation and reimbursement for travel and subsistence expenses at the rates specified in G.S. 138-5. Members of each advisory committee who are officers or employees of the State shall receive reimbursement for travel and subsistence expenses at the rate set out in G.S. 138-6. Members of each advisory committee who are legislators shall be reimbursed for subsistence and travel expenses at the rates set out in G.S. 120-3.1.

(h)        All meetings of an advisory committee appointed pursuant to subsection (g) of this section shall be subject to the provisions of Article 33C of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, and all records of an advisory committee shall be considered public records under Chapter 132 of the General Statutes.

(i)         The Rules of Civil Procedure as set forth in Chapter 1A of the General Statutes and the Rules of Evidence as set forth in Chapter 8C of the General Statutes in effect on January 1, 2010, are deemed adopted by the Supreme Court until modified by the Supreme Court pursuant to this section. References to former Chapter 1A and former Chapter 8C of the General Statutes, and to the Rules of Civil Procedure and Evidence formerly set out in G.S. 1A-1 and G.S. 8C-1, shall be construed as references to the Rules of Civil Procedure and Rules of Evidence adopted under this section, respectively."

SECTION 2.  Chapter 1A of the General Statutes and Chapter 8C of the General Statutes are repealed.

SECTION 3.  The Revisor of Statutes is authorized to replace references to former Chapter 1A and former Chapter 8C of the General Statutes, and to the rules formerly set out in G.S. 1A-1 and G.S. 8C-1, with references to the Rules of Civil Procedure and Rules of Evidence deemed adopted under G.S. 7A-34(i), as appropriate, throughout the General Statutes.

SECTION 4.  The Judicial Department shall implement this act using funds appropriated to the Department for travel and subsistence to reimburse members of the advisory committees on the Rules of Civil Procedure and Evidence authorized by G.S. 7A-34(g). This act shall not be construed to obligate the General Assembly to make any additional appropriation to implement the provisions of this act.

SECTION 5.  This act becomes effective January 1, 2010.