These rules are not intended to reiterate all applicable laws. Where the word "counsel" has been utilized, this will include pro se parties.
This publication contains the rules and all amendments thereto made through January 21, 2015.
Rule 28. Oral Argument
(a) Request and Time.
- Unless expressly ordered by the Court, oral argument is never mandatory and argument may be submitted by briefs only. A case shall be placed on the calendar for oral argument only upon the granting of the request of either party. Oral argument is not permitted for applications or motions.
- A request for oral argument shall be filed within 20 days from the date the case is docketed in this Court. An extension of time to file brief and enumeration of errors does not extend the time to request oral argument.
- The request must be a separate document, an original and two copies, directed to the Clerk, certifying that opposing counsel has been notified of the request and that opposing counsel desires, or does not desire, to argue orally. The request shall identify counsel who is scheduled to argue, and any change shall be communicated to the Clerk as soon as practicable.
- A request shall contain a brief statement describing specifically how the decisional process will be significantly aided by oral argument. The request should be self-contained and should convey the specific reason or reasons oral argument would be beneficial to the Court. Counsel should not assume the brief or the record shall be considered in ruling on the request for oral argument.
After either side has been granted oral argument, it may be waived by either side, but waiver by the requester does not remove the case from the oral argument calendar. If either counsel decides to waive oral argument after it has been granted, waiving counsel must notify other counsel and the Court of that fact.
Argument shall not be allowed on behalf of any party whose brief has not been timely filed, unless permission is granted by the Court. Counsel requesting extension of time to file briefs waive oral argument if the extension is beyond the end of the term.
Oral argument is waived if counsel is not actually inside the courtroom when the case is formally called in its order for argument.
(c) Time of Oral Argument.
Postponements of oral argument are not favored, and no postponement shall be granted under any circumstances that would allow oral argument to take place during a term of the Court subsequent to the term for which the case was docketed.
Argument is limited to 30 minutes for each case, 15 minutes on each side, unless by special leave an enlargement of time is granted. On the day of the argument, counsel may request 5, 10, or 15 minutes for argument. If counsel do not agree on the length of oral argument, the longer time requested shall prevail and each counsel shall be given the same amount of time. Ordinarily, cases shall be argued in the following order: first, 5 minute cases; second, 10 minute cases; and third, 15 minute cases.
No additional time shall be granted for argument except on motion made in writing at least 5 days before the date set for the call of the case. If additional time is granted, the case shall be placed at the end of the calendar unless otherwise ordered by the Court. Appeals, cross appeals, companion cases, and related cases shall be considered to be one case for purpose of oral argument. In the discretion of the Court, a companion case may be treated as a separate case for oral argument if counsel so requests by written motion at least 5 days before the date set for oral argument and the motion is granted by the Court. Where there are third parties or additional parties with divergent interests, additional time may be requested and granted as set out above.
(e) Number of Counsel Arguing.
Ordinarily, when both sides of an appeal are argued, only two counsel on each side shall be heard. When only one side of an appeal is argued, or when arguments are to be made on behalf of more than two parties, no more than one counsel per party shall be heard. For exception, see Rule 28(j).
(f) Opening and Concluding; Rebuttal.
Appellant has the right to open and conclude the arguments.
- Counsel appearing for oral argument shall check in with the clerk in the courtroom at 9:30 a.m. on the date of oral argument specifying who shall argue and for how long.
- Talking, reading newspapers or other material, and audibly studying briefs and arranging papers are prohibited in the courtroom. The lawyers' lounge has been provided for this purpose.
- All counsel appearing before the Court must be properly attired.
Oral argument shall be recorded only for the use and benefit of the Court.
(i) Oral Argument Open to the Public.
Counsel may move the Court to exclude the public for a good cause shown. Such motion shall be filed not later than 24 hours prior to oral argument. News media may be granted permission to photograph or videotape oral argument in accordance with the Court's standing order regarding media in the courtroom.
(j) Procedural Questions.
The Presiding Judge shall decide all questions or issues arising at oral argument.
Rule 29. Hearing by Quorum.
Whenever a Division of the Court is on the bench for the purpose of hearing oral argument, and a quorum (two judges) is present, the Division shall proceed with the call of the docket.