Comments on Proposed Revisions to the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure

A message from Don Bivens to the State Bar of Arizona:

I serve as Chair of the Arizona Supreme Court’s Committee on Civil Justice Reform. The Chief Justice established this 24-member Committee in December 2015 by Administrative Order 2015-126. The Order [available here] directed the Committee to review leading national civil justice reform proposals, and to develop Arizona rule amendments and pilot projects that were “informed by careful consideration of national efforts and studies” with a goal of reducing the cost and time required to resolve civil cases in Arizona’s superior court. Committee members include a Supreme Court justice, judges from the Court of Appeals and the superior court, and a superior court Clerk and court administrator. The membership also includes lawyers drawn from the plaintiffs’ personal injury bar, defense attorneys, consumers’ rights and public interest groups, a public agency, law firms of various sizes, and in-house counsel. The Committee includes both advocates for Arizona businesses and for the public at large.

During 2016, the Committee developed 15 unanimous proposals for civil justice reform, which are detailed in a written report to the Arizona Judicial Council dated October 2016 that is entitled A Call to Reform [available here] The Committee’s webpage information page [available here] contains links to Committee meeting minutes that detail our deliberations.

In January 2017, the Committee filed rule petition number R-17-0010. The petition proposes dozens of changes to the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure. including modifications to Rules 8, 8.1, 11, 16, 26, 26.1, 30, 31, 33-37, 45, and 84. The petition also propose two new rules, Rules 26.2 and 45.2, and the abrogation of Rule 16.3. These proposed changes are substantive and detailed, not merely stylistic. The rule petition is available here. Appendix A to the petition is a “clean” version of proposed new rules. Appendix B is a redlined version. The Committee believes that enacting these reforms will allow Arizona’s already innovative courts to better serve the goal neatly described in Rule 1: “to secure the just, speedy, an inexpensive determination of every action.”

On behalf of the Committee, this message invites your comments on the rule petition and, if you represent an organization, your organization’s comments. Your comments can touch on any aspect of the draft, large or small, concerning substance or style. Your comments can help our Committee improve its work product. Please post your comments on the Court’s Rules Forum. The comment deadline is May 22, 2017.

Thank you for your time and your interest in these proposed rules.

Don Bivens
One Arizona Center
400 E. Van Buren Phoenix, Arizona 85004

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