Colorado Rules Roundup: New Rules and Changes on the Horizon

There are several brand new rules and policies for litigants in Colorado’s state and federal courts, and more existing rules that are open for comment. Here is a roundup of some important rule changes, as well as others that are currently being considered and open for public comment.


Colorado Court of Appeals Record Citation Policy Updates

As of August 4, 2017, the Colorado Court of Appeals has updated its policy on citing to the record. With the move of many records to electronic versions, the Court has updated its policy to help reflect this change. Because of the new file structure for electronic records, the policy is intended to help record cites correspond to this new structure.

The Court has published a detailed policy with examples of what it expects in terms of record citations. Be sure that your record citations in briefing before the Court conform to the policy. As the policy states, conforming your citations to this policy helps the court both with readability and in accurately reviewing the record. It also avoids annoying judges and clerks. 

The policy can be found on the court’s website or by clicking here.

Changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct on Attorney Involvement in Lawful Investigative Activities

At the end of September 2017, the Supreme Court adopted changes to Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(c), which involves conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. Due to concerns around how this rule interacts with the ability of lawyers to advise others who participate in investigative activities, the Supreme Court asked for public comment on a proposed change to the rule. After receiving many public comments on the proposed rule, the Court approved a change which modifies Rule 8.4(c) to allow a lawyer to “advise, direct, supervise others, including clients, law enforcement officers, or investigators, who participate in lawful investigative activities.”

The change in the rule was designed to give attorneys a little more leeway in dealing with investigative activities, which sometimes may involve dishonesty or misrepresentation, without running into professional discipline. While some argue the rule does not go far enough, others argued against the rule’s adoption (check out the public comments here).

In the end, the Colorado Supreme Court adopted the proposed rule, which became effective September 28, 2017. The new rule is available here.

10th Circuit Proposed Local Rules Open for Public Comment

The 2018 proposed 10th Circuit Local Rules are now available for review and the clerk is taking public comments until October 31, 2017. A detailed memo explaining the proposed rule changes is available on the court’s website. Some notable proposed changes include as follows:

  • An update to 10th Circuit Rule 28.3 to give litigants guidance on some of the court’s more disfavored practices in briefing
  • Clarification in Rule 35.7 regarding the types of matters that the appellate court will not consider en banc

The proposed rules and information on how to submit comments can be found here.

U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado Local Rules

The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado is also considering a few changes to its local rules of practice. While the public comment period for these rule changes has passed on October 19th, keep on the lookout for any changes toward the end of the year. It should be noted that the Advisory Committee on the Local Rules allows members of the bar and public alike to submit comments about the local rules, but notes that “Comments must be submitted by June 1 of each year to be considered for the next rules revision cycle.”

Learn more about the local rules here.

Major Changes to the Colorado Probate Rules and Forms on the Horizon

Major amendments have been proposed to the Colorado Rules of Probate Procedure and the Colorado Supreme Court has posted a notice for comments. Many rules have been modernized and forms updated to correspond to the new rules.

The proposed rules and information on how to submit comments can be found on the Court’s website (scroll down on the link).

Featured Image: "Unnamed" by Samuel Zeller on

Because of the generality of the information on this site, it may not apply to a given place, time, or set of facts. It is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations