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Quote of the Day - I had these recipes that say do this, do that. Who MAKES these rules? - Emeril Lagasse
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Appellate Court Puts Its Foot Down On Local Court Rules That Violate Statewide Mandates

In an effort to standardize court rules across the state, the legislature adopted the California Rules of Court and mandated that they apply in every county.  Occasionally, though, a local county will adopt a procedural rule that is inconsistent with one of the state rules.  San Francisco enacted rule that shortened the time frame to file motions for summary judgment in certain types of cases to 60 days from 75 days.

While the fifteen days is not particularly troublesome and certainly local courts have some rights to manage their individual calendars, the legislature wasn't kidding when it said that local rules cannot vary state rules.  As lawyers, we all count on the consistent application of those rules to conduct our practice.  Before this statewide mandate was adopted, it was chaotic at best to practice in different counties, and it made not only the lawyers but also the secretaries crazy to figure out which set of rules applied.  In areas of California where there were several counties close together, you would often find as many different rules as there were counties.

To add insult to injury (and I'm dating myself here), it used to be that judges in individual courtrooms within a county were also allowed to have different schedules for hearings and the like.  In those days, you may have thought you had the hearing dates right after reading the local rules, only to find out that you were wrong because Judge "I have to have it my way" actually did, and Judge IHTHIMW almost always had a different schedule than even the county-wide mandated time frames.

That's why this case was a welcome read.  The appellate courts are enforcing the state mandate to keep procedure consistent.  Clients are grateful, too, even though they don't know it.  It is much less expensive to practice with one set of procedures than it is to research the rules every time you file something in a different county.  One set of rules is a small price to pay for sanity.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, March 12, 2006 at 21:28 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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