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Recent and Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules - Annual Report 2014

The federal rules of practice and procedure govern practice in the federal courts. The Judicial Conference Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, (“Standing Committee”) and its five advisory rules committees “carry on a continuous study of the operation and effect” of the federal rules as directed by the Rules Enabling Act.

Newly Effective Amendments

In April 2014, the Supreme Court adopted and transmitted to Congress amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Procedure, and the Federal Rules of Evidence. These included revisions to Appellate Rule 6; Bankruptcy Rules 1014, 7004, 7008, 8001–8028, 9023, and 9024; Civil Rule 77; Criminal Rules 5, 6, 12, 34, and 58; and Evidence Rules 801(d)(1) (B) and 803(6)–(8). The amendments took effect on December 1, 2014, when Congress took no action to defer, modify, or reject them.

At its September 2014 meeting, the Judicial Conference approved revisions to Official Bankruptcy Forms 3A, 3B, 6 Summary, 17 (to become 17A), 22A (to become 22A-1, 22A-1Supp, and 22A-2), 22B, 22C (to become 22C-1 and 22C-2), and new Forms 17B and 17C, taking effect on December 1, 2014.

Pending Rules Amendments

At its September 2014 meeting, the Judicial Conference approved and forwarded to the Supreme Court for adoption proposed amendments to Civil Rules 1, 4, 16, 26, 30, 31, 33, 34, 37, and 55, and a proposed abrogation of Rule 84 and the Appendix of Forms. Also forwarded to the Supreme Court is a technical amendment to Bankruptcy Rule 1007, which was approved by the Judicial Conference at its March 2014 meeting. The Supreme Court will review the proposed amendments and, if approved, transmit them to Congress by May 1, 2015. Without congressional action, these amendments would take effect on December 1, 2015.

Proposed Amendments Published for Public Comment

On August 15, 2014, the Advisory Committees on the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Procedure published proposed amendments to their respective rules and forms, and solicited comments on the proposals from the bench, bar, and public. Comments can be submitted electronically by following online instructions.

The comment period closes on February 17, 2015. Among the published proposals are parallel amendments to Appellate Rule 26, Bankruptcy Rule 9006, Civil Rule 6, and Criminal Rule 45 that would amend the ”3-day rule” to exclude electronic service.