Restyling The Federal Rules Of Evidence: Final Drafts Completed For FRE 501 to 706 (Part II)

The next set of drafts for FRE 501 to 706 have now been completed

As previously posted, the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules is continuing its efforts to “restyle” the FRE, which would include non-substantive modifications to the rules. On October 23-24, 2008, the committee met in Santa Fe, New Mexico and reviewed the second set of draft restyled rules for FRE 501-706. See Report of the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules (Oct. 23-24, 2008) (including background materials and proposed draft). Once drafts for all the restyled rules are completed, the plan is to release all of the proposed restyled rules for public comment on August 2009.

Example Of Restyled Rule 702

An example from the second set of rules is the draft restyled expert opinion rule, FRE 702. The restyled version follows (with the current rule on the left and draft restyled rule on the right)

Existing Rule (November 2008)Restyled Rule (October 2008)
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise, if (1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.


A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form on an opinion or otherwise if:

(a) The expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help [cf. 701(b)] the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;

(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;

(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and

(d) the expert has reliably appleid the principles and methods to the facts of the case.

The Federal Evidence.Blog will continue to monitor the progress of the FRE restyling proposal. For more information, along with a time line and links to many of the reports considered during the drafting and review process, see the Restyling FRE Legislative History Page

Federal Rules of Evidence
PDF