Print Version
Previous PageFile uploaded: 4/3/2012

Rule 41. Certification of questions of law by United Statescourts

(a) Authorization to answer questions of law. The Utah Supreme Court mayanswer a question of Utah law certified to it by a court of the United States whenrequested to do so by such certifying court acting in accordance with theprovisions of this rule if the state of the law of Utah applicable to aproceeding before the certifying court is uncertain.

(b) Procedure to invoke. Any court of the United States may invoke thisrule by entering an order of certification as described in this rule. Wheninvoking this rule, the certifying court may act either suasponte or upon a motion by any party.

(c) Certification order.

(c)(1) A certification order shall be directed to the Utah Supreme Courtand shall state:

(c)(1)(A) the question of law to be answered;

(c)(1)(B) that the question certified is acontrolling issue of law in a proceeding pending before the certifying court;and

(c)(1)(C) that there appears to be nocontrolling Utah law.

(c)(2) The order shall also set forth all facts which are relevant tothe determination of the question certified and which show the nature of thecontroversy, the context in which the question arose, and the procedural stepsby which the question was framed.

(c)(3) The certifying court may also include in the order any additionalreasons for its entry of the certification order that are not otherwiseapparent.

(d) Form of certification order; submission of record. A certificationorder shall be signed by the judge presiding over the proceeding giving rise tothe certification order and forwarded to the Utah Supreme Court by the clerk ofthe certifying court under its official seal. The Supreme Court may requirethat all or any portion of the record before the certifying court be filed withthe Supreme Court if the record or a portion thereof may be necessary indetermining whether to accept the certified question or in answering thatquestion. A copy of the record certified by the clerk of the certifying courtto conform to the original may be substituted for the original as the record.

(e) Acceptance or rejection of certification. Upon filing of thecertification order and accompanying papers with the clerk, the Supreme Courtshall promptly enter an order either accepting or rejecting the questioncertified to it, and the clerk shall serve copies of the order upon thecertifying court and all parties identified in the certification order. If theSupreme Court accepts the question, the Court will set out in the order ofacceptance (1) the specific question or questions accepted, (2) the deadlinefor notifying the Supreme Court as to those portions of the record which shallbe copied and filed with the Clerk of the Supreme Court, and (3) information asto when the briefing schedule will be established.

(f) Briefing; oral argument. The form of briefs and proceedings on oralargument will be governed by these rules except as such rules may be modifiedby the Supreme Court to accommodate the differences between the appeal processand the determination of a certified question. The clerk of the Supreme Courtwill provide written notice to the parties as to the schedule for the filing ofbriefs and content requirements, as well as the schedule and procedures fororal argument.

(g) Appearance of counsel pro hac vice. Upon acceptance by the Supreme Court of thequestion of law presented by the certification order, counsel for the partiesnot licensed to practice law in the state of Utah may appear pro hac vice upon motion filed pursuant to the Code of JudicialAdministration.

(h) Issuance of opinion on certified questions. The Supreme Court willissue a written opinion that will be published and reported. A copy of theopinion shall be transmitted by the clerk under the seal of the Supreme Courtto the certifying court and to the parties identified in the certificationorder.

Advisory Committee Note

Refer to Rule 14-806 of the Rules Governing the Utah State Bar forqualification of out of state counsel to practice before the courts of Utah.