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FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE

RULE 101

Rule 101.

(a) Scope. These rules apply to proceedings in United States courts. The specific courts and proceedings to which the rules apply, along with exceptions, are set out in Rule 1101.

(b) Definitions. In these rules:

(1) “civil case” means a civil action or proceeding;

(2) “criminal case” includes a criminal proceeding;

(3) “public office” includes a public agency;

(4) “record” includes a memorandum, report, or data compilation;

(5) a “rule prescribed by the Supreme Court” means a rule adopted by the Supreme Court under statutory authority; and

(6) a reference to any kind of written material or any other medium includes electronically stored information.

Notes

(Pub. L. 93–595, §1, Jan. 2, 1975, 88 Stat. 1929; Mar. 2, 1987, eff. Oct. 1, 1987; Apr. 25, 1988, eff. Nov. 1, 1988; Apr. 22, 1993, eff. Dec. 1, 1993; Apr. 26, 2011, eff. Dec. 1, 2011.)

Notes of Advisory Committee on Proposed Rules

Rule 1101 specifies in detail the courts, proceedings, questions, and stages of proceedings to which the rules apply in whole or in part.

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1987 Amendment

United States bankruptcy judges are added to conform this rule with Rule 1101(b) and Bankruptcy Rule 9017.

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1988 Amendment

The amendment is technical. No substantive change is intended.

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1993 Amendment

This revision is made to conform the rule to changes made by the Judicial Improvements Act of 1990.

Committee Notes on Rules—2000 Amendment

The language of Rule 101 has been amended, and definitions have been added, as part of the general restyling of the Evidence Rules to make them more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. These changes are intended to be stylistic only. There is no intent to change any result in any ruling on evidence admissibility.

The Style Project

The Evidence Rules are the fourth set of national procedural rules to be restyled. The restyled Rules of Appellate Procedure took effect in 1998. The restyled Rules of Criminal Procedure took effect in 2002. The restyled Rules of Civil Procedure took effect in 2007. The restyled Rules of Evidence apply the same general drafting guidelines and principles used in restyling the Appellate, Criminal, and Civil Rules.

1. General Guidelines

Guidance in drafting, usage, and style was provided by Bryan Garner, Guidelines for Drafting and Editing Court Rules, Administrative Office of the United States Courts (1969) and Bryan Garner, A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage (2d ed. 1995). See also Joseph Kimble, Guiding Principles for Restyling the Civil Rules, in Preliminary Draft of Proposed Style Revision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, at page x (Feb. 2005) (available at http://www.uscourts.gov/rules/Prelim_draft_proposed_pt1.pdf); Joseph Kimble, Lessons in Drafting from the New Federal Rules of Civil Procedure , 12 Scribes J. Legal Writing __ (2008-2009).

2. Formatting Changes

Many of the changes in the restyled Evidence Rules result from using format to achieve clearer presentations. The rules are broken down into constituent parts, using progressively indented subparagraphs with headings and substituting vertical for horizontal lists. “Hanging indents” are used throughout. These formatting changes make the structure of the rules graphic and make the restyled rules easier to read and understand even when the words are not changed. Rules 103, 404(b), 606(b), and 612 illustrate the benefits of formatting changes.

3. Changes to Reduce Inconsistent, Ambiguous, Redundant, Repetitive, or Archaic Words

The restyled rules reduce the use of inconsistent terms that say the same thing in different ways. Because different words are presumed to have different meanings, such inconsistencies can result in confusion. The restyled rules reduce inconsistencies by using the same words to express the same meaning. For example, consistent expression is achieved by not switching between “accused” and “defendant” or between “party opponent” and “opposing party” or between the various formulations of civil and criminal action/case/proceeding.

The restyled rules minimize the use of inherently ambiguous words. For example, the word “shall” can mean “must,” “may,” or something else, depending on context. The potential for confusion is exacerbated by the fact the word “shall” is no longer generally used in spoken or clearly written English. The restyled rules replace “shall” with “must,” “may,” or “should,” depending on which one the context and established interpretation make correct in each rule.

The restyled rules minimize the use of redundant “intensifiers.” These are expressions that attempt to add emphasis, but instead state the obvious and create negative implications for other rules. The absence of intensifiers in the restyled rules does not change their substantive meaning. See, e.g., Rule 104(c) (omitting “in all cases”); Rule 602 (omitting “but need not”); Rule 611(b) (omitting “in the exercise of discretion”).

The restyled rules also remove words and concepts that are outdated or redundant.

4. Rule Numbers

The restyled rules keep the same numbers to minimize the effect on research. Subdivisions have been rearranged within some rules to achieve greater clarity and simplicity.

5. No Substantive Change

The Committee made special efforts to reject any purported style improvement that might result in a substantive change in the application of a rule. The Committee considered a change to be “substantive” if any of the following conditions were met:

a. Under the existing practice in any circuit, the change could lead to a different result on a question of admissibility (e.g., a change that requires a court to provide either a less or more stringent standard in evaluating the admissibility of particular evidence);

b. Under the existing practice in any circuit, it could lead to a change in the procedure by which an admissibility decision is made (e.g., a change in the time in which an objection must be made, or a change in whether a court must hold a hearing on an admissibility question);

c. It alters the structure of a rule in a way that may alter the approach that courts and litigants have used to think about, and argue about, questions of admissibility (e.g., merging Rules 104(a) and 104(b) into a single subdivision); or

d. It changes a “sacred phrase” — phrases that have become so familiar in practice that to alter them would be unduly disruptive. Examples in the Evidence Rules include “unfair prejudice” and “truth of the matter asserted.”

 

Links

Federal Rules of Evidence
ARTICLE I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
Rule 101. Scope
Rule 102. Purpose and Construction
Rule 103. Rulings on Evidence
Rule 104. Preliminary Questions
Rule 105. Limited Admissibility
Rule 106. Remainder of or Related Writings or Recorded Statements
ARTICLE II. JUDICIAL NOTICE
Rule 201. Judicial Notice of Adjudicative Facts
ARTICLE III. PRESUMPTIONS IN CIVIL ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS
Rule 301. Presumptions in General Civil Actions and Proceedings
Rule 302. Applicability of State Law in Civil Actions and Proceedings
ARTICLE IV. RELEVANCY AND ITS LIMITS
Rule 401. Definition of "Relevant Evidence"
Rule 402. Relevant Evidence Generally Admissible; Irrelevant Evidence Inadmissible
Rule 403. Exclusion of Relevant Evidence on Grounds of Prejudice, Confusion, or Waste of Time
Rule 404. Character Evidence Not Admissible To Prove Conduct; Exceptions; Other Crimes
Rule 405. Methods of Proving Character
Rule 406. Habit; Routine Practice
Rule 407. Subsequent Remedial Measures
Rule 408. Compromise and Offers to Compromise
Rule 409. Payment of Medical and Similar Expenses
Rule 410. Inadmissibility of Pleas, Plea Discussions, and Related Statements
Rule 411. Liability Insurance
Rule 412. Sex Offense Cases; Relevance of Alleged Victim's Past Sexual Behavior or Alleged Sexual Predisposition
Rule 413. Evidence of Similar Crimes in Sexual Assault Cases
Rule 414. Evidence of Similar Crimes in Child Molestation Cases
Rule 415. Evidence of Similar Acts in Civil Cases Concerning Sexual Assault or Child Molestation
ARTICLE V. PRIVILEGES
Rule 501. General Rule
Rule 502. Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product; Limitations on Waiver
ARTICLE VI. WITNESSES
Rule 601. General Rule of Competency
Rule 602. Lack of Personal Knowledge
Rule 603. Oath or Affirmation
Rule 604. Interpreters
Rule 605. Competency of Judge as Witness
Rule 606. Competency of Juror as Witness
Rule 607. Who May Impeach
Rule 608. Evidence of Character and Conduct of Witness
Rule 609. Impeachment by Evidence of Conviction of Crime
Rule 610. Religious Beliefs or Opinions
Rule 611. Mode and Order of Interrogation and Presentation
Rule 612. Writing Used to Refresh Memory
Rule 613. Prior Statements of Witnesses
Rule 614. Calling and Interrogation of Witnesses by Court
Rule 615. Exclusion of Witnesses
ARTICLE VII. OPINIONS AND EXPERT TESTIMONY
Rule 701. Opinion Testimony by Lay Witnesses
Rule 702. Testimony by Experts
Rule 703. Bases of Opinion Testimony by Experts
Rule 704. Opinion on Ultimate Issue
Rule 705. Disclosure of Facts or Data Underlying Expert Opinion
Rule 706. Court Appointed Experts
ARTICLE VIII. HEARSAY
Rule 801. Definitions
Rule 802. Hearsay Rule
Rule 803. Hearsay Exceptions; Availability of Declarant Immaterial
Rule 804. Hearsay Exceptions; Declarant Unavailable
Rule 805. Hearsay Within Hearsay
Rule 806. Attacking and Supporting Credibility of Declarant
Rule 807. Residual Exception
ARTICLE IX. AUTHENTICATION AND IDENTIFICATION
Rule 901. Requirement of Authentication or Identification
Rule 902. Self-authentication
Rule 903. Subscribing Witness' Testimony Unnecessary
ARTICLE X. CONTENTS OF WRITINGS, RECORDINGS, AND PHOTOGRAPHS
Rule 1001. Definitions
Rule 1002. Requirement of Original
Rule 1003. Admissibility of Duplicates
Rule 1004. Admissibility of Other Evidence of Contents
Rule 1005. Public Records
Rule 1006. Summaries
Rule 1007. Testimony or Written Admission of Party
Rule 1008. Functions of Court and Jury
ARTICLE XI. MISCELLANEOUS RULES
Rule 1101. Applicability of Rules
Rule 1102. Amendments
Rule 1103. Title
 
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