Friday, April 15, 2011

Georgia Evidence Code Revised by Georgia General Assembly

On April 14, the Georgia Senate approved a sweeping revision to the Georgia Evidence Code, adopting the framework of the Federal Rules of Evidence first enacted in 1975, and replacing the current evidence scheme that was based largely on laws enacted during the Civil War.  Although the code does little to change the substance of Georgia law, it does substantially modernize the numbering of the code and codifies provisions that were previously found only in case law, bringing Georgia's legal system in line with the majority of state legal systems, as well as the federal system.  Georgia had previously adopted the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the 1970s, but had resisted adoption of the Federal Evidence Rules despite attempts to do so by various legislators, including now-governor Nathan Deal,for approximately 25 years.

UPDATE: Georgia Law of Torts - Trial Preparation and Practice, authored by John Hadden and Kenneth Shigley and Published by West, contains an extensive appendix of cross-reference charts comparing the new code and detailing important new provisions of evidence law.

State Bar of Georgia president-elect Kenneth Shigley has posed a blog entry with further information, including a link to a summary of the bill, on the Atlanta Injury Law and Civil Litigation Blog.

The new evidence code has an effective date of January 1, 2013.  It applies, however, to any trial starting on or after that date, regardless of when the lawsuit is filed.  Therefore, it is not at all unlikely that the new code would apply to the trial of a case filed today.

Governor Nathan Deal is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

Turkheimer & Hadden, LLC
(404) 890-7200
Trial and Appellate Lawyers

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