Michie’s 2012 Maryland Rules of Procedure have just been published by LexisNexis. These new volumes are current through November 7, 2011. Supplements containing interim changes are usually published in June. The West’s rules are published on a different schedule with the new editions published around March and the supplements around October. (The three volume annotated version was not supplemented last year.)
In the last few years we have seen many rules changes especially with those rules adopted in response to the foreclosure crisis. The adoption of new rules has on occasion caused the printed volumes and even the online versions to become outdated.
How do you know if you are looking at the most current rules? The easiest way is to check the webpage of the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure for proposed rules and recent rules orders and compare the information with the currency date of the rules you are using.
LexisNexis publishes the Advance Court Rules Service to update the bound annual volumes and supplement. A number of pamphlets are published throughout the year to update the annual volumes and the supplements. Proposed rules are also included. However, being a printed source it may not be received in time. For example, Pamphlet #6 of 2011 was received on December 1, 2011 but contained rules that were effective November 1, 2011.
There are online sources for the rules as well. Lexis provides free, unannotated rules at www.michie.com. The Maryland Rules are also a database on the paid, password required, www.lexis.com. Still, it is important that you note when they were last updated for either source and compare that date with the most recent the date of the most recent Rules Order. Each of the online Lexis provided rules have a statement at the beginning of the rule stating that the rules are current through a particular date. You can also see the history of that rule by scrolling down to the end of the rule to find the history information in parenthesis. With Lexis.com there is also the option of clicking on the information icon next to the database for currency information.
Lexis.com also has a rules orders database containing databases for all states. Each state has a number of years that can be selected. The list provided within the year is not organized for easy determination of the date of the most recent rules report. The official Rules Committee would be your best choice as there is a disclaimer\notice with the Lexis.com Rules Orders database that states: “Though LexisNexis seeks complete coverage of orders that serve to update rules of court, customers are advised to contact court clerks for the text of applicable rules.” It would be best to check the Rules Committee webpage rather than ask the Clerk of the Court.
Maryland Rules are found on Westlaw in the Maryland Court Rules database. The currency of the database can be found in the database scope information and is also found at the end of each rule with the history. Westlaw also has a Maryland Rules Update Orders database containing only those rules orders that came after the currency date of the Court Rules database. The orders are not dated and are in a list in order by West’s own numbering system. Like the Lexis.com database it is not easy to determine what the dates are.
You can keep track of Maryland Rules changes by visiting the Rules Committee webpage and making sure that whatever source of the Maryland Rules you are using reflects the changes in the most recent Rules Order. If it does not, you can easily check the order to see it the rule you are relying upon has changed.
The Law Library monitors the Rules Committee webpage and prints the Rules Orders to be kept in the “Rules Orders” binder. The binder is shelved with the Maryland Rules.