AN ACT TO MAKE VARIOUS CHANGES AND TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS TO THE LAWS GOVERNING THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.
Amends GS 7A-38.2 to add a court management staff member to the Dispute Resolution Commission, appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Adds a new subsection to grant civil immunity to members of the Dispute Resolution Commission and its employees for conduct undertaken in the course of their official duties.
Amends Rule 51 of the Rules of Civil Procedure to require the court to reduce oral jury instructions to writing for civil cases subject to Rule 9(j) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, regarding medical malpractice pleadings. Additionally encourages and authorizes the court to provide the jury a written copy of the oral instructions for the jury to take into the jury room during deliberation. Amends GS 7A-47.3 to direct the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge to designate a specific resident judge or a specific judge assigned to hold court in the district to preside over all proceedings in a case subject to Rule 9(j) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, regarding medical malpractice pleadings. Requires consultation with the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and the parties to the case. Effective October 1, 2021.
Mandates that the 2022-23 master jury list contain not less than 1.25 times and not more than 3 times as many names as were drawn for jury duty in all courts in the county during the 2018-19 biennium if the jury commission determines that those numbers would be more representative of the required number of jurors than the number of names drawn during the previous biennium. In counties preparing an annual 2022 master jury list, requires the list to contain not less than 1.25 times and not more than 3 times as many names drawn during 2019 if the commission determines that those numbers would be more representative of the required number of jurors than the number of names drawn during the previous biennium.
Makes the following modifications to the Judicial Standards Commission, governed by GS 7A-375. Requires the General Assembly to appoint alternate Judicial Standards Commission members for the Commission members the General Assembly has appointed to serve in the event of scheduling conflicts, conflicts of interest, disability, or other disqualification in a particular case. Deems the alternate members to have the same qualifications of appointment as the original members. Defines vacancy to arise upon the resignation or death of a member. Requires vacancies of NCGA appointed members to be filled by the alternate member appointed, or if the alternate member is unable to serve, then pursuant to the procedures of GS 120-122 (previously, required all vacancies to be filled under GS 120-122). Requires the chair to call upon the alternate member in instances in which NCGA appointed members become disabled or disqualified from participating in a disciplinary proceeding, previously filled as if there were a vacancy under GS 120-122 and limited to disability. Concerning other non-judge members, provides for their replacement with alternates by their respective appointing authority in instances of disability or disqualification from participating in a disciplinary proceeding. Specifies that the Chair, who is the Court of Appeals judge appointed by the Chief Justice, serves at the pleasure of the Chief Justice. Makes conforming changes and organizational changes.
Provides a severability clause.