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Court asks for comments on proposed parental leave rule

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Court asks for comments on proposed parental leave rule

Florida Bar members are being asked their opinions about whether a Rule of Judicial Administration is needed to guide judges when lawyers request a continuance because of the impending birth or adoption of a child.

The Florida Supreme Court has requested lawyers comment on a Rules of Judicial Administration Committee report on the issue. The RJA majority said a rule is not needed because the issue is better addressed by policy and not a rule. A committee minority, however, advocated a rule that unless another party demonstrates “substantial prejudice,” a parental leave continuance must be granted if it is made within reasonable time of learning the need for the leave or the setting of a date for the proceeding for which the continuance is sought.

The presumptive length of the leave would be three months. If another party challenges the continuance motion and shows prima facie evidence of substantial prejudice, then the moving party has the burden of showing the objecting party would not be harmed by the motion. The judge would be required to make the decision in writing, which must include specific reasons if the motion is denied.

The Bar Board of Governors supported the committee’s minority report calling for a rule.

The Supreme Court requested the report from the RJAC after it rejected a petition from the Bar Board of Governors asking for a parental leave rule. The court said the board didn’t have the authority to request a rule amendment.

The board filed its petition after the Rules of Judicial Administration Committee twice declined to offer its own amendment and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee endorsed a leave rule. A special committee recommended a rule to the board, which in turn, unsuccessfully sent it to the court.

An Notice from the court requesting Bar members’ comments may be found here.

Comments must be filed by November 15.

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