Uniform rules refer to a strict set of guidelines for courtroom conduct for lawyers and judges. The rules of a court differ from country to country and even between the different layers of courts, but they generally follow a similar outline. It is absolutely necessary for an attorney to know the rules in order to proceed properly and to use these rules for an advantage. Commonly, uniform rules are broken down by the different kinds of trials that take place within a given court system, such as criminal, civil, family, juvenile, tax and others.
In most court systems, uniform rules cover the basic conduct expected of the prosecution and defense during a trial. These rules set out the order of opening and closing arguments, when a jury is used, jury selection and more. These rules also outline how witnesses and questioning will be handled. Among the most important elements that it covers are the uniform rules of evidence, stating how evidence can be brought in and used during a trial.
Uniform civil rules apply to a trial between two private parties, and uniform criminal rules apply to trials between a private party and the state. In these rules, attorneys find a list of the various papers to be filed before a trial. These rules also cover how the courtroom proceedings will happen and the various legal maneuvers that are considered acceptable. These documents generally are several pages long and require a great deal of study before they are committed to memory.
Family and juvenile courts have a similar set of uniform rules in regard to courtroom proceedings and paperwork to be filed. Generally, though, the rules pertaining to family disputes and defendants younger than 18 years old are more specialized than those of a criminal case. Rules for the various family court proceedings, such as divorce and custody, are strictly outlined.
Uniform rules also can apply in a number of smaller courts in addition to these more common ones. Tax courts provide a detailed set of rules, especially pertaining to evidence, because of the enormous amounts of paperwork and other data used as evidence in these courts. Probate courts, special courts, municipal courts and more also have uniform rules, providing lawyers and judges with a structure for the courtroom action.