Federal Court Rules

In the federal court system, the Judicial Conference of the United States serves as the policy-making body. The rules and policies set forth by the Judicial Conference govern the administration of the federal courts.

Court Proceedings

The federal rules of practice and procedure govern federal court proceedings. You can find the set of federal court rules online.

Federal civil trials are governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure while federal criminal trials are governed by the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Cases heard in a federal court of appeal are governed by the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.

For the rules that govern other federal proceedings, see the following documents from the U.S. Courts website:

Local Rules

At their own discretion and within certain guidelines, federal trial courts and federal courts of appeal can adopt their own local rules. Public Law 107-347 requires that federal courts publish any local rules on their website. To access a court's local rules, use this directory to locate the website of a federal court.

Ethics and Conduct

There are various codes of conduct for federal judicial employees. Federal judges are subject to the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. There is a separate Code of Conduct for Judicial Employees.

If you are seeking information on how to file a complaint of judicial misconduct or judicial disability, see the U.S. Courts page on the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act

page last updated: 19 Jul 2023 5:00 PM