North Carolina: bill takes away Chief Justice’s power to designate Business Court Judges, transfers to Governor

May 22nd, 2014 by Bill Raftery Leave a reply »

A bill (HB 1078) filed earlier this week in the North Carolina General Assembly would remove the power of the state’s Chief Justice to name business court judges and instead allow the Governor to make the appointments.

The state’s business courts in their present form were created as part of HB 650 of 2005 and are made up of  Superior Court judges. Under current law

The Chief Justice may exercise the authority under rules of practice prescribed pursuant to G.S. 7A-34 to designate one or more of the special superior court judges authorized by G.S. 7A-45.1 to hear and decide complex business cases as prescribed by the rules of practice. Any judge so designated shall be known as a Business Court Judge and shall preside in the Business Court.

HB 1078 effectively repeals the special superior court judges authorized by G.S. 7A-45.1 however rather than allowing the Chief Justice to retain the ability to designate future Business Court Judges from the Superior Court bench, the Governor would pick them instead.

The Governor, in consultation with the Chief Justice, shall appoint up to three special superior court judges to hear and decide complex business cases as prescribed by the rules of practice. Any judge so appointed shall be known as a Business Court Judge and shall preside in the Business Court.

HB 1078 is currently pending before not the House Judiciary Committee but the House Appropriations Committee.

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