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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. 

Amendments Approved by the Judicial Conference

On September 13, 2016, the following were approved by the Judicial Conference and have been transmitted to the Supreme Court.

Rules (on track to become effective December 1, 2017)

  • Bankruptcy Rules 1001, 1006(b), and 1015(b); and
  • Evidence Rules 803(16) and 902.

The materials transmitted to the Court are available here.

Bankruptcy Forms (on track to become effective December 1, 2016)

  • Bankruptcy Forms 410S2, 420A, and 420B.  Bankruptcy forms are posted here.

Amendments Adopted by the Supreme Court

The following rules were adopted by the Supreme Court and transmitted to Congress on April 28, 2016. They are on track to become effective December 1, 2016.

  • Appellate Rules 4, 5, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 28.1, 29, 32, 35, and 40, and Forms 1, 5, and 6, new Form 7 and new Appendix;
  • Bankruptcy Rules 1010, 1011, 2002, 3002.1, 7008, 7012, 7016, 9006, 9027, and 9033, and new Rule 1012;
  • Civil Rules 4, 6, and 82; and
  • Criminal Rules 4, 41, and 45.

The rules, orders adopting the rules, and letters of transmittal are available on the website of the Supreme Court of the United States. The entire package of materials transmitted to Congress is available here.  Subsequent correspondence to Congress from Judge Jeffrey Sutton, Chair of the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, addressing the net effect of successive amendments to Civil Rule 4(m) 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.