Restyling FRE: New Rules Take Effect On December 1, 2011 (Part XIII)

On Thursday, December 1, 2001, newly “restyled” Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE) take effect; the multi-year effort was part of a plan to make the rules simpler to understand while not changing their substantive meaning; a new, complimentary and searchable PDF copy of Restyled Federal Rules Of Evidence, with direct links to legislative history materials, is available from the Federal Evidence Review


In 2006, an effort to “restyle” the Federal Rules of Evidence was commenced by the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules. A similar restyling had been undertaken on the Federal Rules of Appellate in 1998, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure in 2002, and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 2007. The commitment to restyling the evidence rules picked up steam after the committee received confirmation that the Chief Justice supported the effort, see Minutes of the Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules, at 21-22 (April 12-13, 2007). The Committee completed a draft in April 2009, which was submitted to the Committee On Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

In August 2009, the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure released the entire package of draft style amendments for public comment, as part of the rules amendment process under the Rules Enabling Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2071-77. Public comments were received by February 16, 2010. See Memorandum to the Bench, Bar, and Public on Proposed Style Amendments to the Federal Rules of Evidence. On September 14, 2010, the U.S. Judicial Conference recommended that the Supreme Court adopt the proposed restyled FRE.

On April 26, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court approved the recommended restyled version of the FRE. Under the Rules Enabling Act, the amendments take effect on December 1, 2011, in the absence of congressional action.

Resource Materials

The Federal Evidence Review has provided a number of resource materials on the Restyled FRE at, including:

The enactment is the last of seven key steps under the Rules Enabling Act in the rules amendment process as identified by the Administrative Office of the Courts.


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