Did you know that according to Rule 1 of the Utah Rules of Civil Procedures, all trials “…shall be liberally constructed to secure the just, speedy, inexpensive determination of every action”? To me that came as quite the surprise as I read the Rule 26 article recently published in the Utah Journal of Family Law. I always believed that going to court over anything takes ridiculous amounts of time and money, and that legal professionals are just fine with that fact. However, upon reading this article written by our very own Stacy G. Schmidt, I learned about how much Utah lawyers and judges really wanted to reform litigation procedures in order to make justice more readily accessible to all Utahns.
To that end, the Utah Supreme Court Advisory Committee (USCAC) recently agreed to make some changes to the discovery process in the litigation of a case. The discovery process is how the parties to a lawsuit obtain information relevant to that court action, or, “evidence” as it is popularly known. The former discovery rule requirements were time consuming,vague and difficult for both those representing themselves and family law practitioners to understand and fully comply with. The new rules require both parties to in a sense “lay all their cards on the table” at the onset of the case. By doing so, the likelihood of settlement early in the case increases substantially, taking off much of the cost and time.
This change in procedure was put into effect only recently and is still ripe for analysis and change. Read Stacy’s full article, Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 26: For Family Lawyers (.pdf) and tell us what you think.