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Supreme Court Rules

Subject: Rule 70 - Rules of Civil Procedure - Rules Governing Civil Procedure in the Circuit Courts - Instructions Publication / Adopted Date:April 7, 1977
Topic:Instructions to JuriesRevised / Effective Date:January 1, 1994

70.02. Instructions to Juries

(a) Requests for Instructions. Any party may, and a party with the burden of proof on an issue shall, submit written requests for instructions on the law applicable to the issues. Requests shall be submitted prior to an instruction conference or at such time as the court directs. A party need not request a converse instruction until the court has indicated the verdict directing instruction expected to be given. The court may give instructions without requests of counsel. All instructions shall be submitted in writing and shall be given or refused by the court according to the law and the evidence in the case. Each instruction shall be submitted with an original and one copy for the court and one copy for each party. Each copy shall indicate whether it was prepared at the court's direction or by which party it was tendered and shall contain a notation as follows:

'MAI No. ___' or 'MAI No. ___ modified' or 'Not in MAI' as the case may be.

(b) Form of Instructions. Whenever Missouri Approved Instructions contains an instruction applicable in a particular case that the appropriate party requests or the court decides to submit, such instruction shall be given to the exclusion of any other instructions on the same subject. Where an MAI must be modified to fairly submit the issues in a particular case, or where there is no applicable MAI so that an instruction not in MAI must be given, then such modifications or such instructions shall be simple, brief, impartial, free from argument, and shall not submit to the jury or require findings of detailed evidentiary facts.

(c) Violation of Rule - Effect. The giving of an instruction in violation of the provisions of this Rule 70.02 shall constitute error, its prejudicial effect to be judicially determined, provided that objection has been timely made pursuant to Rule 70.03.

(d) Converse Instruction - Effect of Requesting. The request of a converse instruction shall not be deemed to waive any objection to the instruction conversed.

(e) Instructions Conference and Record. The court shall hold an instructions conference with counsel to determine the instructions to be given. The court shall inform counsel as to the instructions that are to be given prior to the time they are delivered to the jury. All instructions refused and all instructions given, including a record of who tendered them, shall be kept as a part of a record in the case. An opportunity shall be given for counsel to make objections on the record, out of the hearing of the jury, before the jury retires to deliberate.

(f) Instructions - How and When Given. After a jury has been sworn to try a case but before opening statements, the court shall read to the jury Missouri Approved Instructions 2.01, which shall be marked and given to the jury along with the other instructions at the close of the case but shall not be reread by the court. With agreement of all parties, the court may give such other preliminary instructions during the trial as will assist the jury in understanding its role or the issues in the case. Agreement is not required for cautionary or withdrawal instructions during the trial. Final instructions in the case, submitting the law applicable to the case, ordinarily should be given prior to final arguments. Instructions that are to be given shall be consecutively numbered and all shall be given as instructions of the court. Except where otherwise provided in Missouri Approved Instructions, they shall be given in such order as the court shall deem advisable. The final instructions on the law governing the case shall be read to the jury by the court and provided to the jury in writing.

(Renumbered from Rule 70.01 and amended April 7, 1977, eff. Dec. 1, 1977. Amended June 1, 1993, eff. Jan. 1, 1994.)