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Title I - Rules Effective November 12, 2022

The Northern Mariana Islands Supreme Court Rules are generally based on the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. Care has been taken to ensure that deviations from the federal rules are minimal. Accordingly, a deviation from an analogous federal rule is intentional. Rules designated by integers (e.g., “25”) or decimals (e.g., “26.1”) are based on the corresponding federal rule bearing the same number. Rules designated by dashed numbers (e.g., “27-1”) are not. This numbering system is analogous to that used by the federal circuits, where local circuit rules are designated by dashed numbers. The only exceptions to this format are Rules 13 and 14, dealing with certified questions. These are not based on federal rules.

Table of Contents (Quick Links)

Rule 27-2. Motions: Disposition

    (a) Motions Determined by the Clerk

    (b) Motions Determined by a Single Justice

    (c) Motions Determined by the Full Court

    (d) Motion to Reconsider

    (e) Disposition of a Motion for a Procedural Order

Rule 28. Briefs

    (a) Appellant’s Brief

    (b) Appellee’s Brief

    (c) Reply Brief

    (d) References to Parties

    (e) References to the Record

    (f) Reproduction of Statutes, Rules, Regulations, etc

    (g) [Reserved]

    (h) [Reserved]

    (i) Briefs in a Case Involving Multiple Appellants or Appellees

    (j) Citation of Supplemental Authorities

Rule 28.1. Cross-Appeals

    (a) Applicability

    (b) Designation of Appellant

    (c) Briefs

    (d) Cover

    (e) Length

    (f) Time to Serve and File a Brief

Rule 29. Brief of Amicus Curiae

    (a) When Permitted

    (b) Motion for Leave to File

    (c) Contents and Form

    (d) Length

    (e) Time for Filing

    (f) Reply Brief

    (g) Oral Argument

Rule 30. Appendix to the Briefs

    (a) Appellant’s Responsibility

    (b) All Parties’ Responsibilities

    (c) [Reserved]

    (d) Format of the Appendix

    (e) [Reserved]

    (f) Appeal on the Original Record Without an Appendix

Rule 31. Serving and Filing Briefs

    (a) Time to Serve and File a Brief

    (b) Number of Copies

    (c) Consequence of Failure to File

Rule 31-1. Extensions of Time for Filing Briefs; Late Filing of Briefs

    (a) Extensions of Time for Filing Briefs

    (b) Late Filing of Briefs

Rule 32. Form of Briefs, Appendices, and Other Papers

    (a) Form of a Brief

    (b) Form of Other Papers

    (c) Signature

    (d) Substantial Compliance Required

    (e) Brief Not in Conformity

Rule 32.1 Citing Judicial Dispositions

    (a) Citation Permitted

    (b) Copies Required

Rule 33. Appeal Conferences

    (a) Generally

    (b) Purpose

    (c) Appeal Conference Officer

    (d) Confidentiality

    (e) Appeal Conference Report

Rule 34. Oral Argument

    (a) In General

    (b) Notice of Argument; Postponement

    (c) Order and Contents of Argument

    (d) Cross-Appeals and Separate Appeals

    (e) Nonappearance of a Party

    (f) Submission on Briefs

    (g) Use of Physical Exhibits at Argument; Removal

Rule 35. [Reserved]

Rule 36. Entry of Judgment; Notice

    (a) Entry

    (b) Notice

Rule 37. Interest on Judgment

    (a) When the Court Affirms

    (b) When the Court Reverses

Rule 38. Frivolous Appeal-Damages and Costs

Rule 39. Costs

    (a) Against Whom Assessed

    (b) [Reserved]

    (c) [Reserved]

    (d) Bill of Costs: Objections: Insertion in Mandate

    (e) Costs on Appeal Taxable in the Superior Court

Rule 39-1. Request for Attorney Fees; Opposition

    (a) Request for Attorney Fees

    (b) Opposition to Request

Rule 40. Petition for Rehearing

    (a) Time to File; Contents; Answers; Action by the Court if Granted

    (b) Form of Petition; Length

49 Rule 41. Mandate: Contents; Issuance and Effective Date; Stay

    (a) Contents

    (b) When Issued

    (c) Effective Date

    (d) Staying the Mandate

Rule 42. Voluntary Dismissal

    (a) Dismissal in the Superior Court

    (b) Dismissal in this Court

    (c) Voluntary Dismissals in Criminal Appeals

Rule 42-1. Dismissal and Sanctions for Failure to Prosecute

    (a) Notice and Dismissal by Clerk

    (b) Dismissal by Court; Sanctions

Rule 43. Substitution of Parties

    (a) Death of a Party

    (b) Substitution for a Reason Other Than Death

    (c) Public Officer: Identification; Substitution

Rule 44. Case Involving a Constitutional Question

When the Commonwealth is Not a Party

    (a) [Reserved]

    (b) Constitutional Challenge to Commonwealth Statute

Rule 45. Clerk’s Duties

    (a) General Provisions

    (b) Records

    (c) Notice of an Order of Judgment

    (d) Custody of Records and Papers

Rule 45-1. Clerk’s Authority

    (a) Practice of Law

    (b) Grant or Deny Motions

    (c) Notice of Noncompliance

Rule 46. [Reserved]

Rule 47. Court Rules

    (a) Amendments

    (b) Procedure When There Is No Controlling Law

Rule 48. Special Master

    (a) Appointment; Powers

    (b) Compensation

Rule 49. [Reserved]

Rule 50. [Reserved]

Rule 51. [Reserved]


Rule 1. Scope of Rules; Authority; Title; Definitions

    (a) Scope of Rules

    (b) [Reserved]

    (c) Title

Rule 1-1. Authority; Forms; Definitions

    (a) Authority

    (b) Forms

    (c) Definitions

Rule 2. Suspension of Rules



Rule 3. Appeal – How Taken

    (a) Filing the Notice of Appeal

    (b) Joint or Consolidated Appeals

    (c) Contents of the Notice of Appeal

    (d) Serving the Notice of Appeal

    (e) Payment of Fees

Rule 3-1. Docketing Statement; Response; Notice of Appearance;

Notice of Potential Conflicts

    (a) Docketing Statement

    (b) Opposing Parties Must Respond or File Appearance

    (c) Notice of Potential Conflicts

Rule 4. Appeals: When Taken

    (a) Appeal in a Civil Case

    (b) Appeal in a Criminal Case

    (c) Appeal by an Inmate Confined in an Institution

    (d) Mistaken Filing in this Court

Rule 4-1. Counsel in Criminal Appeals

    (a) Continuity of Representation on Appeal

Rule 5. [Reserved]

Rule 6. [Reserved]

Rule 7. Bond for Costs on Appeal in Civil Cases

Rule 8. Relief Pending Appeal

    (a) Motion for Stay

    (b) Proceeding Against a Surety

    (c) Stay in a Criminal Case

Rule 9. Review of Superior Court Order of Release or

Detention in Criminal Cases

    (a) Release Before Judgment of Conviction

    (b) Release After Judgment of Conviction

    (c) Criteria for Release

Rule 10. The Record on Appeal

    (a) Composition of the Record on Appeal

    (b) The Transcript of Proceedings

    (c) Statement of the Evidence When the Proceedings

         Were Not Recorded or When a Transcript Is Unavailable

    (d) Agreed Statement as the Record on Appeal

    (e) Correction or Modification of the Record

Rule 11. Assembling the Record

    (a) Appellant’s Duty

    (b) [Reserved]

    (c) Retention of Record in the Superior Court for Use in

         Preparing the Appeal; Certification of Record

Rule 11-1. Transcripts

    (a) General

    (b) Requesting and Preparing the Audio Transcript

    (c) Preparation of the Certified Transcript for Appointed Counsel

    (d) Preparation of the Certified Transcript for Pro Se,

         Retained Counsel, or Government Counsel

Rule 12. Docketing the Appeal; Filing a Representation Statement

    (a) Docketing the Appeal

    (b) Filing a Representation Statement

    (c) Substitution of Attorneys and Notice of Substitution


Rule 13. Certified Questions: From Federal Court

    (a) When Appropriate

    (b) How Brought

    (c) Procedure in This Court

    (d) Costs

    (e) Certification

Rule 14. Certified Questions: From Commonwealth Officials

    (a) When Appropriate

    (b) How Brought

    (c) Procedure in This Court




Rule 15. [Reserved]

Rule 16. [Reserved]

Rule 17. [Reserved]

Rule 18. [Reserved]

Rule 19. [Reserved]

Rule 20. [Reserved]


Rule 21. Writs of Mandamus and Prohibition,

and Other Extraordinary Writs

    (a) Mandamus or Prohibition to a Court: Petition,

         Filing, Service, and Docketing

    (b) Denial; Order Directing Answer; Briefs; Precedence

    (c) Other Extraordinary Writs

    (d) Form of Papers

Rule 21-1. Original Actions



Rule 22. Habeas Corpus Proceedings

Rule 23. Custody or Release of a Prisoner in

              Habeas Corpus Proceedings

    (a) Transfer of Custody Pending Review

    (b) Detention or Release Pending Review of Decision Not to Release

    (c) Release Pending Review of Decision Ordering Release

    (d) Modification of Initial Order on Custody



Rule 25. Filing and Service

    (a) Filing

    (b) Service of All Papers Required

    (c) Manner of Service

    (d) Proof of Service

Rule 26. Computation and Extension of Time

    (a) Computing Time

    (b) Extending Time

    (c) Additional Time after Service

Rule 26.1. Corporate Disclosure Statement

    (a) Who Must File

    (b) Time for Filing; Supplemental Filing

Rule 27. Motions

    (a) In General

    (b) Form of Papers; Page Limits; and Number of Copies

    (c) Oral Argument

Rule 27-1. Emergency Motions

    (a) Requirements

    (b) Motions in Emergency Criminal Interlocutory Appeals. 

    (c) Conformity

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