The Colorado Supreme Court is requesting written public comments by any interested person on revisions to proposed new rules for calculating trial and appellate deadlines. Changes are being made to virtually every rule of procedure (civil, appellate, uniform water, probate, and criminal) – a daunting task undertaken by the Supreme Court to help simplify how one determines when pre- and post-trial actions must be taken. Most of the new rules will take effect at the start of 2012, with a few others kicking in July 2012 to allow for legislative review.
Public review and comment is seen as vital to these changes especially, as they are comprehensive; with such a vast number of rules to review, it is possible mistakes or inconsistencies escaped the notice of the Supreme Court’s rules committees. The Court asks that lawyers who appear in courts—civil, criminal, appellate, or other—review the applicable proposals and submit written comments to the Supreme Court by Friday, September 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm.
According to an advance article from The Colorado Lawyer, the changes again come as a response to revisions in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The amended Colorado rules will adopt the federal rules’ multiples of 7 – or, multiples of a week. This change will virtually eliminate problems that arise when a deadline falls on a weekend; a response that is due in 21 days will always fall on the same weekday.
The revised Colorado rules, however, reject the federal standard of allowing an extra 3 days for mailing and e-service. The Colorado rules will adopt a 7-day standard for that as well.
As a result of these changes, most court deadlines were rounded up to closest 7-day period, with 10 days becoming 14 and 15 rounding up to 21. However, sometimes longer periods were shortened slightly when time frames were deemed important; 30 days before trial could now become 28 days before trial.
All trial and appellate lawyers are urged to review the new proposed rules to determine whether these new deadlines create unintended consequences that should be fixed before final action on the rules is taken.
An original plus eight copies of written comments concerning the proposed new rules should be submitted to the Clerk of the Colorado Supreme Court, Christopher T. Ryan, at 101 W. Colfax Avenue, Suite 800, Denver, Colorado 80202, no later than Friday, September 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm.