North Carolina Court of Appeals Begins En Banc Hearings

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In the closing days of 2016, the North Carolina General Assembly passed several bills during emergency legislative sessions.  One such bill created a new court procedure whereby a petitioner may now move a case before the entire Court of Appeals.  This is called an en banc hearing.  Typically, North Carolina Court of Appeals cases are decided by three judge panels.  The new law allows exceptional cases to now sit before the entire 15-judge court.  The rushed legislation left practical questions for North Carolina attorneys, such as how to mechanically petition for an en banc hearing.  The North Carolina Supreme Court issued rules to establish the procedure:  http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/html/pdf/Rule-31.1.pdf.  Attorneys also wonder where en banc hearings will take place as no one can identify a large enough North Carolina courtroom.  Rumblings amongst the judges suggest that a new courtroom is in the works.  Regardless of the location, the first en banc hearings should be interesting to say the least.

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