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Pending Rules and Forms Amendments

Any change to the federal rules must be designed to promote simplicity in procedure, fairness in administration, the just determination of litigation, and the elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay.

An amendment to a federal rule usually takes about three years.  As described in more detail at Overview for the Bench, Bar and Public, a proposed rule change is generally considered by an advisory committee and published for comment, then considered by the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure (the “Standing Committee”), the Judicial Conference, the Supreme Court, and Congress.

Amendments to appellate and civil forms follow the same three-year process as rules.  Amendments to Official Bankruptcy Forms, which do not require consideration by the Supreme Court or Congress, generally follow a shorter two-year process.

Below are the proposed rules and forms amendments most recently approved at each level beginning with those approved by the Standing Committee.1 Indications that a rule or form is “on track to become effective” may change over time depending on whether the proposed change is approved at each stage of the process. 

Amendments Approved by the Standing Committee

The most recent amendments approved by the Standing Committee have been considered by the Judicial Conference and are described in the next section. The Standing Committee next meets on January 4, 2018.

Amendments Approved by the Judicial Conference

On September 12, 2017, the following were approved by the Judicial Conference.

Rules (on track to become effective December 1, 2018)

  • Appellate Rules 8, 11, 25, 26, 28.1, 29, 31, 39, and 41, and Forms 4 and 7;
  • Bankruptcy Rules 3002.1, 5005, 7004, 7062, 8002, 8006, 8007, 8010, 8011, 8013, 8015, 8016, 8017, 8021, 8022, 9025, new Rule 8018.1, and new Part VIII Appendix;
  • Civil Rules 5, 23, 62, and 65.1; and
  • Criminal Rules 12.4, 45, and 49.

Bankruptcy Forms

  • Official Forms 25A, 25B, 25C, 26 (renumbered respectively as 425A, 425B, 425C, and 426), 101, 309F, 309G, 309H, and 309I (to become effective December 1, 2017); and 
  • Official Forms 417A and 417C (to become effective December 1, 2018).

The approved rules amendments were transmitted to the Supreme Court on October 4, 2017. The materials transmitted to the Court are available here.

Amendments Adopted by the Supreme Court - Pending Congressional Review

The following rules were adopted by the Supreme Court and transmitted to Congress on April 27, 2017:

  • Appellate Rule 4;
  • Bankruptcy Rules 1001, 1006, 1015, 2002, 3002, 3007, 3012, 3015, 3015.1 (new), 4003, 5009, 7001, and 9009;
  • Civil Rule 4; and
  • Evidence Rules 803 and 902.

The rules, orders adopting the rules, and letters of transmittals are available on the website of the Supreme Court of the United States.  The entire package of materials transmitted to Congress is available here.

1 Rule and form changes being considered by advisory committees can be found in their most recent agenda books or reports, and any rules and forms that are out for public comment can be found here.