By Belinda Paredes, Esq.

Updates to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for 2023 are effective beginning December 1st. LawToolBox is continuously reviewing and updating new and changed rules in our system in real-time. While there are not numerous updates to the rules this year, there are some important changes to note:

Rule 6(a)(6)(A) adds Juneteenth as a legal holiday across all Federal Courts. Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19th of each year. While most Federal Courts have already added Juneteenth as a holiday during 2023, those that haven’t will be required to add the holiday to their 2024 calendar. LawToolBox has made this change within our holiday charts so they reflect the most current court closures.

Rule 15(a)(1) substitutes the term “no later than” for “within” for clarity. “No later than” makes it clear that the right to amend continues without interruption until 21 days after the earlier of the events described in Rule 15(a)(1)(B).

Rule 72(b)(1) permits the court clerk to immediately serve a copy of a magistrate judge’s recommended disposition by any of the means provided in Rule 5(b).

Rule 87, Civil Rules Emergency, is a new rule put in place as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This rule addresses extraordinary situations that substantially impair the court’s ability to perform its functions under the rules of procedure. The emergency can be of a local or widespread variety, and due to a variety of circumstances including weather emergencies, fire, civil unrest, pandemic and so on.

The Judicial Conference has the sole authority to declare a rules emergency. However, even in the absence of a declaration, a court should use all measures of discretion and flexibility embedded in the structure of the Civil Rules to continue operations. The declaration is limited to a stated period of no longer than 90 days but may be terminated before the end of the period or extended by a new declaration before or at the end of the initial period.

Rule 87 also authorizes the court to order service by means not otherwise provided in Rule 4 by a method that is appropriate to the circumstances of the emergency through subsection (c) “Emergency Rules.” Furthermore, this subsection allows for a potential extension of time of no more than 30 days to file certain post-judgment motions. For more in-depth detail on the changes to the FRCP, click here and here.


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