By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville
In June 2016 at the Bureau’s annual Educational Conference, we discussed the rule changes that were making their way through the administrative jungle toward final approval. That process takes about one year from the time of proposal until being finalized and approved. That set of rules took effect last November (2016). In talking about the rules, the Court promised that no changes would be made for two years. We felt the system should stabilize a bit before further changes followed.
Also in November and December of 2016, we held open meetings in all eight offices to receive feedback from the public and the practitioners on problems with the system and potential changes – short of making rule changes. We summarized the suggestions here and here.
After these events, the Court received more comments from various stakeholders, typically when certain unusual circumstances arose. This led to our recent internal change of having the judges set the date for post-discovery alternative dispute resolution rather than having the parties file another document. We also maintain a running list of suggestions for when we once again approach rule-changing time.
Before we know it, we will be in November 2018. Because the process takes so long, we need to start taking comments/suggestions now.
The Mediation and Hearing Procedures number only 16 pages, but those few pages contain information that results in wins and losses in court. How would you like to see these rules tweaked? Now is the time to offer suggestions. We might not accept every suggestion, but we will certainly consider them.
Remember, we are not requesting ideas for statutory changes. Others do that. We are looking at matters controlled by the rules mentioned above. So, please give this some thought and submit your suggestions. We really do look forward to hearing from you. Send your suggestions here.