Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Maryland Rule 1-101. Applicability.

Rule 1-101. Applicability 

(a) Title 1. Title 1 applies to all matters in all courts of this State, except the Orphans' Courts and except as otherwise specifically provided.

(b) Title 2. Title 2 applies to civil matters in the circuit courts, except for Juvenile Causes under Title 11 of these Rules and except as otherwise specifically provided or necessarily implied.

(c) Title 3. Title 3 applies to civil matters in the District Court, except as otherwise specifically provided or necessarily implied.

(d) Title 4. Title 4 applies to criminal matters; post conviction procedures; and expungement of records in the District Court and the circuit courts, including records of civil offenses or infractions, except juvenile offenses, under a State or local law enacted as a substitute for a criminal charge.

(e) Title 5. Title 5 applies to all actions in the courts of this State, except as otherwise provided by statute or rule.

(f) Title 6. Title 6 applies to matters in the Orphans' Courts and before the registers of wills relating to the settlement of decedents' estates.

(g) Title 7. Title 7 applies to appellate and other judicial review in the circuit courts.

(h) Title 8. Title 8 applies to appellate review in the Court of Appeals and the Court of Special Appeals.

(i) Title 9. Title 9 applies to proceedings under Code, Family Law Article, Title 5, Subtitles 3 (Guardianship to and Adoption through Local Department), 3A (Private Agency Guardianship and Adoption), and 3B (Independent Adoption) and proceedings relating to divorce, annulment, alimony, child support, and child custody and visitation.

(j) Title 10. Title 10 applies to fiduciary matters in the courts of this State, except for matters relating to the settlement of decedents' estates governed by Title 6 of these Rules and guardianships governed by Title 9 of these Rules.

(k) Title 11. Title 11 applies to juvenile causes under Code, Courts Article, Title 3, Subtitles 8 and 8A.

(l) Title 12. Title 12 applies to property actions relating to writs of survey, lis pendens, actions for release of lien instruments, condemnation, mechanics' liens, partition, redemption of ground rents, replevin, and detinue.

(m) Title 13. Title 13 applies to proceedings relating to estates of assignees and receivers.

(n) Title 14. Title 14 applies to proceedings relating to sales of property.

(o) Title 15. Title 15 applies to special proceedings relating to arbitration, catastrophic health emergencies, contempt, habeas corpus, health claims arbitration, injunctions, judicial releases of individuals confined for mental disorders, mandamus, the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, name changes, and wrongful death.

(p) Title 16. Title 16 applies to the courts, judges, and attorneys.

(q) Title 17. Title 17 applies to alternative dispute resolution proceedings in civil actions in a circuit court, except for actions or orders to enforce a contractual agreement to submit a dispute to alternative dispute resolution.

You can't know the players without a scorecard.  Our first Rule is long, boring, and not particularly descriptive - but its rather important.  This is our table of contents, where we go to figure out what Rule we need to know.  

Title 1 is the basic stuff that applies to pretty much every action in court in Maryland, with the exception of the Orphans' Court.  Which brings us to the first in what I am sure will be many detours in this commentary - the Orphans' Court.  Despite its Oliver Twist invoking name, the Orphans' Court isn't a court of adoptions.  Instead, the Orphans' Court is Maryland's probate court.  In 1777, the General Assembly established an Orphans' Court and Register of Wills for each County or County-equivalent (Baltimore City). The basic structure of this system survives to this day.  The function of the Orphans' Court is to see to the distribution of property owned by a decedent under the terms of a will or under Maryland probate law.  Orphans' Court judges preside over each Court.  Interestingly, Orphans' Court judges do not need to be attorneys in all jurisdictions, nor are they full time in all jurisdictions.  

Title 2 is my section of the Maryland Rules - the civil rules of the Circuit Court.  This section is akin to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, so hated by every 1L.  

Title 3 is awfully similar to Title 2, and is the civil rules for District Court.  District Court has jurisdiction for smaller civil matters, all handled without a jury.  District Court also handles all landlord-tenant disputes, even extremely complex, high priced ones.  More on that later in the Rules.

Title 4 is rules of criminal procedure in both Circuit and District Courts, as well as post conviction relief and other criminal related matters.

Title 5 is the rules of evidence.  It's rather similar to the Federal Rules of Evidence, though there are differences.

Title 6 is the rules of the Orphan's Court, our probate rules in Maryland.

Title 7 is the appellate rules for cases coming from District Court to Circuit Court for review.

Title 8 is the appellate rules for cases appealed to the Court of Special Appeals, the first layer of Maryland's courts of appeal, and of our highest court, the Court of Appeals.  I've already had my detour in this post, so I will refrain from discussing the history of the Court of Special Appeals in this post.

Title 9 is the family law rules.  This is an area of the law in which I have absolutely zero experience.  Family law matters are handled by the Circuit Court, but in many if not most counties, the work is delegated to Masters.

Title 10 contains the rules for fiduciaries and guardians, except for in the case of the estates of decedents (a.k.a. dead people) which is handled by the Orphan's Court rules in Title 6.

Title 11 is the rules for juvenile proceedings.

Title 12 is one of my favorites - the flagrant use of law Latin and with a whiff of ye olde English Blackacre.  On occasion while reading Title 12 I have flashbacks to Property as a 1L, though of course my professor did not actually teach the rules.  What I mostly remember from that class is a rattlesnake, precious bird droppings, a bottle, and finding the word riparian really funny.

Title 13 is the rules for receivers and assignees.  I've used this title exactly once, in a case so confusing that it would confound any set of rules.

Title 14 is one of my favorites - the rules for the sale of real property. This is a very Rules-driven practice area, where failure to follow the Rules can be disastrous.

Title 15 contains the rules for other special proceedings.  I'm not really sure why MAIF is included.

Title 16 is the rules for the court, judges, and attorneys.  Court administration, disciplinary actions, and similar are found here.  Of particular note to litigators are the access to court records rules.  While on first read they are confusing to say the least, it does discuss the provision of redacted copies of documents filed under seal.  However, it's not clear what sanction, if any, exists if an attorney fails to do so.

Title 17 is alternative dispute resolution rules.

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