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Know the Rules

Contributed by George Rozzell

At Miller | Butler, some of our lawyers are rules nerds. Whether the issue is of evidence or procedure (this entries’ focus), a wise lawyer – now judge – conveyed to me in law school that you can’t play the game until you know the rules. While the practice of law is not a game for us or our clients, the analogy works.

The Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure,, govern the procedure in the circuit courts for civil matters and are construed and administered to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action. ARCP 1. The Rules establish how a case is filed and how the Court obtains the ability to hear a case involving a party. ARCP 3, 4. The Rules determine how parties must be served. ARCP 4, 5. The Rules govern how a party counts days to determine when deadlines occur. The Rules govern how a party prepares its pleadings to state its claims or defenses or to seek relief from the Court. ARCP 7, 8, 9, 10, 12.

Beyond the commencement of the Case, the Rules of Procedure grant the Court wide discretion in the management of its docket, with the clear intent being that the Court will promote the interests of public to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action. ARCP 16.

The Rules also govern what is subject to review by an opposing party during the discovery process, and dictate how that process should proceed during a case. ARCP 26-37. They address the ability to seek permission to appeal an issue before the case is over (ARCP 54), how to seek a judgment without going to trial (ARCP 56), and how to correct a judgment that may have been entered incorrectly (ARCP 59, 60).

These rules are engrained in our lawyers from the moment they begin attending law school. We take great pride in understanding their nuance and being able to apply them correctly for our clients. While the rules may not be able to decide your case or move other mountains – sometimes they can be used to your advantage and for that, it is crucial to know them. Just like in sports. Tiger’s bold boulder move (

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