Since the inception of the New York State Supreme Court Commercial Division Rules in 1993, the rules have been consistently amended and refined by judges with practitioners’ input to “improve the efficiency with which such [commercial] matters were addressed by the court and … to enhance the quality of judicial treatment of those cases.” 

On April 17, 2024, the New York State Office of Court Administration issued a request seeking public commentary on a proposal, recommended by the Commercial Division Advisory Council (“CDAC”), to amend Commercial Division Rules 25-33 to include a preamble. Commercial Division Rules 25-33 – essentially a commercial litigator’s trial manual – provide guidance on the procedure for trial preparation, accelerating trial court proceedings, and alternative methods for resolving commercial disputes.

The proposed preamble to Rules 25-33 of the Rules of the Commercial Division includes the following language:

“The Commercial Division operates in accordance with a series of well-crafted rules and principles designed to achieve and promote the goals of efficient and cost-effective case management. These rules stress organization, preparation and cooperation as well as the use of innovative techniques where appropriate Rules 25-33, which address trial preparation and procedure, reflect these important concepts. These trial rules emphasize the importance of pre-trial preparation and remind the practitioner that such preparation is an essential element of successfully litigating and conducting a complex commercial case and trial…When there is compliance with the rules, the result is an efficient and cost-effective proceeding that will ensure that the court’s time and attention will be used in the manner in which it is intended and avoid unnecessary delay and unintended consequences (emphasis added).”

This proposal, as highlighted by the CDAC, follows the previously adopted preambles – a general preamble to the entire set of Commercial Division Rules, and a preamble applicable to the discovery provisions set forth in Commercial Division Rules 11 through 11-g. The CDAC further notes that this proposal is partially motivated by the success of the adopted preambles aiding practitioners in litigating cases within the bounds of the Commercial Division.

The CDAC states that the rationale for the proposed preamble to Rules 25-23 is to “help business litigants and practitioners better understand the philosophy underlying [Commercial Division] Rules 25-33, which is to be efficient and organized with respect to pre-trial preparation and trial execution.” The CDAC aims for the proposed preamble to guide the conduct of lawyers before and during trials and to acquaint businesses, including businesses in and outside the State, interested in litigating within the confines of the Commercial Division’s trial-based rules.

Comments to the proposal were due by May 24, 2024. In the meantime, while we await the potential adoption of the preamble, we’ll do our best (as always) to keep you up-to-date regarding any other developments within the Commercial Division Rules.