Hawaii Rules of Civil Procedure


Hawaii rules of civil procedure lays down the rules that should be followed by circuit courts in Hawaii.  The rules govern civil actions.  The rules are promulgated for the smooth and efficient functioning of state courts.  In Hawaii, a civil action commences with the filing of a complaint.  Party who commences the action is called the plaintiff, and the opposite party is called the defendant.  Once a complaint is filed, the court clerk will issue the required summons and the plaintiff should deliver it along with the complaint to a person authorized to receive the summons. A civil action can be classified into various stages that include: pleading stage, discovery stage, trial stage, and judgment stage.

Different types of pleadings in Hawaii courts are: Complaint, Answer to Complaint, Counter claim, Reply to counterclaim, Cross claim, Reply to cross claim, Third party complaint and Third party answer.  A complaint should be filed by the real party in interest.  If the real party in interest is an infant or incompetent person, the person’s guardian should file the complaint.  If an infant or incompetent person does not have a guardian, s/he may file the action through a next friend.  The courts, if found necessary will appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the infant or incompetent person.

Discovery is obtained by parties through:

  • oral examination or written questions;
  • written interrogatories;
  • requests for admission;
  • request for production of documents or other information;
  • request for permission to enter into land or other property for inspection or other purpose; and/or
  • physical and mental examinations.

After commencement of the action, a party may demand for trial by jury.  A judgment is passed after trial.  The judgment may include a decree or an order upon which an appeal is permissible.  Generally, cost of litigation is adjudged to the prevailing party.

Hawaii Rules of Civil Procedure