New Jersey rules of civil procedure is stated in New Jersey Court Rules, Part IV, Chapter 1. The rules of civil procedure lays down the rules that should be followed by the superior court, law and chancery divisions, the surrogate’s courts and the tax court. The rules are promulgated for smooth and efficient functioning of courts. In New Jersey a civil action commences by filing of a complaint with the court. Party who commences the action is called the plaintiff, and the opposite party is called the defendant. Summons may be issued by plaintiff, plaintiff’s attorney or clerk of court.
A civil action can be classified into various stages that include: pleading stage, discovery stage, trial stage, and judgment stage. Different types of pleadings allowed according to Rule 4:1-5 are: Complaint, Answer to Complaint, Counter claim, Reply to counterclaim, Cross claim, Answer to cross claim, Third party complaint and Third party answer. Under Rule 4:26-1, a complaint should be filed by a real party in interest. If the real party in interest is a minor or mentally incapacitated person, the person’s guardian should file the complaint. If the minor or mentally incapacitated person does not have a guardian, s/he may file the action through a guardian ad litem duly appointed by court.
Parties my obtain discovery by:
- 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.
Jury trial can be demanded as of right. The party should specify the issues to be tried by jury. Issues involved in a case not tried by jury will be tried by court without jury. A judgment is passed after trial. Mostly, cost of litigation is adjudged to the prevailing party.