N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 316

Tuesday, July 8, 1947 (Afternoon session)

this Committee is making of constitutional revision. They are making a study of the experience of the district courts throughout the country in their application of the rules, and they are recommending to the Supreme Court the needed changes - those changes that seem necessary because of mistakes that may have been made in writing the original rules, the deficiencies that became apparent from experience. And, as a result, we now have the entire 86 rules amended. The amendments will go into effect in September.

It is interesting to note that there have been very few substantive changes in the amendments. Their language has been clarified. For example, remedies which seemed in the doubtful category were also clarified, but even the amendments will present no difficulty to the presiding judge or to the practicing lawyer. So far as simplicity is concerned, I don't think the rules of civil procedure can be condemned for the lack of it.

MR. FRANK H. SOMMER: There was an appellate question because of a lack of clarity on some particular point.

JUDGE SMITH: Exactly, there were some things which were not clear and the judges expressed a difference of opinion in their writings. The committee studied those opinions, studied the experience and the application of the rules, and have come forward with a revision based upon a five-year experience in the application of the rules.

Now, had they had a constitutional amendment to deal with, they could not have done it as simply.

MR. DIXON: Has Congress ever stepped in in connection with the new rules and made any changes?

JUDGE SMITH: Not so far.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: These amendments you refer to are still on file with Congress.

MR. DIXON: The original rules, I said.

JUDGE SMITH: No, they have not been changed in any way.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Judge, would you express any opinion as to the issues of delay and expense which have been raised by the members of our Committee from time to time? What effect, if any, have the new rules had?

JUDGE SMITH: Delay and expense in what respect?

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Has the cost to the litigant been reduced?

JUDGE SMITH: Well, I don't believe the cost to the litigant has been increased or decreased by reason of the rules. There is a simplicity of operation, which has cut down the period of time.

MR. EDWARD A. McGRATH: Appellate procedure has reduced the expense of appeals very substantially, has it not?

JUDGE SMITH: On the appellate practice there has been a reduction in cost, but that again was accomplished by the rules in permitting the aggrieved litigant to come up on a short form

Previous Page in Book ********* Table of Contents *********** Next Page in Book