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Rule 134. Trials

Arizona Revised Statutes AnnotatedJustice Court Rules of Civil ProcedureEffective: August 29, 2022

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated
Justice Court Rules of Civil Procedure (Refs & Annos)
Part IX: Trial
Effective: August 29, 2022
17B A.R.S. Justice Court Civ.Proc.Rules, Rule 134
Rule 134. Trials
a. Trial procedures. The court may impose reasonable time limits for a trial or for any portion of a trial. The order of proceedings in a trial by jury, so far as applicable, also governs a trial to a judge without a jury. A jury will be summoned, and a trial to a jury will proceed, as provided by Title 22, Chapter 2 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, and as provided by this rule. Unless the parties agree otherwise, the number of individuals selected as trial jurors, and the number of jurors needed to render a verdict, shall be as provided by Title 21, Chapter 1, of the Arizona Revised Statutes, or as otherwise provided by law. The order of trial is as follows:
(1) Potential jurors are summoned to the court and are given an oath to truthfully answer questions about their qualifications to serve as trial jurors. The court may conduct an initial examination of prospective jurors by case-specific written questionnaire, orally, or by both methods. Case-specific written questionnaires may be administered before potential jurors are summoned to the court. If used, case-specific written questionnaires shall be administered in a manner and form used by the court in compliance with Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure 47(c)(3). Either after prospective jurors complete a case-specific written questionnaire or during an initial oral examination, the judge, and the parties, as the judge may allow, then ask questions to prospective jurors concerning their qualifications and fitness to serve as jurors. Potential jurors may be challenged for cause based on answers on a case-specific written questionnaire or during the course of questioning. The party challenging a juror for cause has the burden to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the juror cannot render a fair and impartial verdict. Upon request, the judge may allow the parties to make brief opening statements to the prospective jurors before the questioning process. The jurors then selected to hear the case are sworn, and the judge gives the jury preliminary instructions concerning the jury's duties, its conduct, the order of proceeding, and elementary legal principles that govern the trial. The judge will instruct the jurors that each of them may take handwritten notes during the trial, which the jurors can take to the jury room, and the court will provide jurors with note-taking materials.
(2) The plaintiff or plaintiff's counsel may make an opening statement. Opening statements of every party must be brief and must be limited to facts that the party expects the evidence will establish.
(3) The defendant or defendant's counsel may make an opening statement, or may defer making an opening statement until the close of plaintiff's evidence.
(4) Other parties, if any, may make opening statements in the order directed by the judge.
(5) The plaintiff will introduce evidence.
(6) The defendant will introduce evidence.
(7) Other parties, if any, may introduce evidence in the order directed by the judge.
(8) The plaintiff may then introduce evidence in rebuttal.
(9) Before a time set by the judge, a party may request that the judge give certain instructions to the jury. The judge will determine the final instructions after consultation with the parties, and the judge will then give the jury its concluding instructions of law. The instructions will be available in writing for the jury during its deliberations.
(10) Each party, in the order set forth above, may provide a summation to the jury. The party having the burden of proof on the case as a whole is entitled to provide a rebuttal.
(11) The jury will retire with trial exhibits and the jurors' notes to a private and convenient place for its deliberations in the charge of a proper officer of the court, who will not allow any communication to be made to them, except to ask if they have agreed upon a verdict, or as ordered by the judge. If the jury wishes to communicate with the judge, it shall make the desire known to the officer orally or in writing, who will then inform the court.
(12) A verdict reached by a jury will be announced in open court in the presence of the jurors and the parties, and noted in the court's records, and the jurors may then be discharged. Judgment will be given on the verdict.
(13) If it appears after a reasonable time that it is unlikely that the jury will reach a verdict, the jury may be discharged, and the matter may be tried again. [ARCP 16(h), 38, 39, 47, 48, 49, 51]
b. Motion for judgment as a matter of law. Motions for judgment as a matter of law during a jury trial must be made before the jury retires for deliberations. The motion contends that there is no legally sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find for a party on a contested issue. [ARCP 50]


Adopted Aug. 30, 2012, effective Jan. 1, 2013. Amended on an emergency basis Feb. 13, 2013, effective Feb. 13, 2013, amendment adopted on a permanent basis Aug. 28, 2013. Amended on an emergency basis Aug. 28, 2013, effective Aug. 28, 2013, amendment adopted on a permanent basis, effective Nov. 14, 2013. Amended Sept. 28, 2021, effective Jan. 1, 2022; amended on an emergency basis Dec. 8, 2021, effective Jan. 1, 2022; amended on a permanent basis, effective Aug. 29, 2022.
17B A. R. S. Justice Court Civ. Proc. Rules, Rule 134, AZ ST J CT RCP Rule 134
State Court Rules are current with amendments received and effective through May 15, 2023. The Code of Judicial Administration is current with amendments received through May 15, 2023.
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