COURT RULES

This guide is intended to explain the importance of court rules and to inform patrons of the sources available to provide the text and annotations to these rules.

Court rules establish uniform procedures which provide all parties to a lawsuit with the information necessary to conduct the proceedings before a particular federal court. Since these rules provide guidelines for everything from the preparation of papers to be filed before the court to strict time limitations for filing motions and briefs, it is imperative that one know where to locate them.

FEDERAL COURT RULES

Rules of general applicability in the federal courts are: Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Federal Rules of Evidence, Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, Multidistrict Litigation Rules, and Rules of the Supreme Court of the United States.

There are also rules governing procedure in particular specialized courts such as the United States Claims Court, the United States Court of International Trade, and Bankruptcy Courts.

The Library receives several copies of a pamphlet published by West Publishing Company, which contains the unannotated text of the above mentioned rules of general applicability in the federal courts. This pamphlet, Federal Civil Judicial Procedure and Rules (KF 8816 .F4 1991) contains these rules with amendments through July 1, 1991. Included in this pamphlet are pertinent excerpts from "Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules" which explains the rationale behind the rules.

Another pamphlet published by West Publishing Company, Texas Rules of Court Federal (KFT 1729 .T43 1993), contains unannotated text of the federal rules of general applicability, as well as Rules for Bankruptcy Courts in Texas and local rules for the Federal District Courts in Texas. These rules are amended through January 15, 1993. This pamphlet is available at the Circulation Desk.

Annotated texts of the federal rules for various courts are found in both United States Code Annotated (KF 62 .U5) and in United States Code Service (KF 62 .U6). Both sets contain annotations to cases which have construed and interpreted the rules, as well as cross references to other rules and statutes and to its publisher's related works. Both are kept up-to-date by annual pocket parts or pamphlets and interim annotation services.

All federal courts have promulgated local rules. Local rules are concerned with rules for preparation of briefs, filing of motions, and other "protocol" items. Federal Local Court Rules (KF 8820 .U55) is a three volume loose-leaf service that provides the text of the Local Rules for the Federal District Courts located in each state, Local Rules for the United States Courts of Appeals, and the Internal Operating Procedures of the United States Courts of Appeals.

STATE COURT RULES

Rules of general applicability in the state courts of Texas are: Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Texas Rules of Civil Evidence, Texas Rules of Criminal Evidence, and Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure.

The Library receives several copies of a pamphlet published by West Publishing Company, which contains the unannotated text of the above-mentioned state court rules. The pamphlet, Texas Rules of Court, State (KFT 1729 .T42 1993), contains these rules with amendments received through January 15, 1993. Copies of the pamphlet are on Reserve at the Circulation Desk.

Vernon's Texas Rules Annotated (KFT 1230.5 U41 R9) contains the most comprehensive annotations of the Texas court rules. The annotations include historical notes, commentary on the rules, interpretive decisions and construction of the rules by Texas courts, and reference to pertinent articles that have appeared in law reviews and journals published in Texas. The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure appear in six hardbound volumes. The Texas Rules of Civil Evidence, Texas Rules of Criminal Evidence, and Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure are in a special pamphlet that is shelved following the bound volumes. Annotated Rules are updated by pocket parts and Vernon's Interim Annotation Service (KFT 1230.5 V4 A25).

Many of the District Courts in Texas have promulgated local rules. Those rules apply only to the court or courts that issue them. Often several enumerated District Courts in a particular county will join to operate under one set of local rules. No one should appear in or file motions and briefs before a court without having read its local rules--particularly in the great state of Texas. With the avowed purpose "to assist the out-of-county litigator to avoid being sandbagged by a local rules on the eve of trial", Sterling W. Steves compiled Local Rules of the District Courts in Texas (KFT 1729.5 D5 S7 1981). This valuable volume, which is kept up-to-date with loose-leaf supplementation, is on Reserve at the Circulation Desk.

Prepared by Sally J. Langston
Associate Director of the Law Library 4/16/93

 

 

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