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2022 California Rules of Court

Standard 2.20. Trial management standards

(a) General principles

The trial judge has the responsibility to manage the trial proceedings. The judge should take appropriate action to ensure that all parties are prepared to proceed, the trial commences as scheduled, all parties have a fair opportunity to present evidence, and the trial proceeds to conclusion without unnecessary interruption. When the trial involves a jury, the trial judge should manage proceedings with particular emphasis on the needs of the jury.

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(b) Techniques of trial management

The trial judge should employ the following trial management techniques:

(1)  Participate with trial counsel in a trial management conference before trial.

(2)  After consultation with counsel, set reasonable time limits.

(3)  Arrange the court's docket to start trial as scheduled and inform parties of the number of hours set each day for the trial.

(4)  Ensure that once trial has begun, momentum is maintained.

(5)  Be receptive to using technology in managing the trial and the presentation of evidence.

(6)  Attempt to maintain continuity in days of trial and hours of trial.

(7)  Schedule arguments on legal issues at the beginning or end of the day so as not to interrupt the presentation of evidence.

(8)  Permit sidebar conferences only when necessary, and keep them as short as possible.

(9)  In longer trials, consider scheduling trial days to permit jurors time for personal business.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

Standard 2.20 amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as sec 8.9 effective July 1, 1997.


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