U.S. Code, Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, Appendix

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Author: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel"

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Rule 57. Declaratory Judgments

     The procedure for obtaining a declaratory judgment pursuant to Title 28, U.S.C., § 2201, shall be in accordance with these rules, and the right to trial by jury may be demanded under the circumstances and in the manner provided in Rules 38 and 39. The existence of another adequate remedy does not preclude a judgment for declaratory relief in cases where it is appropriate. The court may order a speedy hearing of an action for a declaratory judgment and may advance it on the calendar.

(As amended Dec. 29, 1948, eff. Oct. 20, 1949.)

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1937

     The fact that a declaratory judgment may be granted "whether or not further relief is or could be prayed" indicates that declaratory relief is alternative or cumulative and not exclusive or extraordinary. A declaratory judgment is appropriate when it will "terminate the controversy" giving rise to the proceeding. Inasmuch as it often involves only an issue of law on undisputed or relatively undisputed facts, it operates frequently as a summary proceeding, justifying docketing the case for early hearing as on a motion, as provided for in California (Code Civ.Proc. (Deering, 1937) § 1062a), Michigan (3 Comp.Laws (1929) § 13904), and Kentucky (Codes (Carroll, 1932) Civ.Pract. § 639a–3).

     The "controversy" must necessarily be "of a justiciable nature, thus excluding an advisory decree upon a hypothetical state of facts." Ashwander v. Tennessee Valley Authority, 297 U.S. 288, 325, 56 S.Ct. 466, 473, 80 L.Ed. 688, 699 (1936). The existence or nonexistence of any right, duty, power, liability, privilege, disability, or immunity or of any fact upon which such legal relations depend, or of a status, may be declared. The petitioner must have a practical interest in the declaration sought and all parties having an interest therein or adversely affected must be made parties or be cited. A declaration may not be rendered if a special statutory proceeding has been provided for the adjudication of some special type of case, but general ordinary or extraordinary legal remedies, whether regulated by statute or not, are not deemed special statutory proceedings.

     When declaratory relief will not be effective in settling the controversy, the court may decline to grant it. But the fact that another remedy would be equally effective affords no ground for declining declaratory relief. The demand for relief shall state with precision the declaratory judgment desired, to which may be joined a demand for coercive relief, cumulatively or in the alternative; but when coercive relief only is sought but is deemed ungrantable or inappropriate, the court may sua sponte, if it serves a useful purpose, grant instead a declaration of rights. Hasselbring v. Koepke, 263 Mich. 466, 248 N.W. 869, 93 A.L.R. 1170 (1933). Written instruments, including ordinances and statutes, may be construed before or after breach at the petition of a properly interested party, process being served on the private parties or public officials interested. In other respects the Uniform Declaratory Judgment Act affords a guide to the scope and function of the Federal act. Compare Aetna Life Insurance Co. v. Haworth, 300 U.S. 227, 57 S.Ct. 461 (1937); Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Ry. v. Wallace, 288 U.S. 249 (1933); Gully, Tax Collector v. Interstate Natural Gas Co., 82 F.(2d) 145 (C.C.A.5th, 1936); Ohio Casualty Ins. Co. v. Plummer, 13 F.Supp. 169 (S.D.Tex., 1935); Borchard, Declaratory Judgments (1934), passim.

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1948 Amendment

     The amendment substitutes the present statutory reference.

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Chicago: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel", "Rule 57. Declaratory Judgments," U.S. Code, Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, Appendix in U.S. Code, Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, Appendix (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2002), Original Sources, accessed September 30, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=LJ3KDTCG4S9JHNQ.

MLA: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel". "Rule 57. Declaratory Judgments." U.S. Code, Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, Appendix, in U.S. Code, Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, Appendix, Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 2002, Original Sources. 30 Sep. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=LJ3KDTCG4S9JHNQ.

Harvard: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel", 'Rule 57. Declaratory Judgments' in U.S. Code, Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, Appendix. cited in 2002, U.S. Code, Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, Appendix, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.. Original Sources, retrieved 30 September 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=LJ3KDTCG4S9JHNQ.