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Supreme Court Rules

Section/Rule:51.05
Subject: Rule 51 - Rules of Civil Procedure - Rules Governing Civil Procedure in the Circuit Courts - Venue Including Change of Venue and Change of Judge Publication / Adopted Date:November 15, 1974
Topic:Change of Judge - ProcedureRevised / Effective Date:January 1, 2010


51.05. Change of Judge - Procedure

(a) A change of judge shall be ordered in any civil action upon the timely filing of a written application therefor by a party. For purposes of this Rule 51, proceedings to revoke probation or judicial parole and motions to modify child custody, child support, or spousal maintenance filed pursuant to chapter 452, RSMo, are not an independent civil action unless the judge designated to rule on the motion is not the same judge that ruled on the previous independent civil action. The application need not allege or prove any cause for such change of judge and need not be verified.

(b) The application must be filed within 60 days from service of process or 30 days from the designation of the trial judge, whichever time is longer. If the designation of the trial judge occurs less than thirty days before trial, the application must be filed prior to any appearance before the trial judge.

In the case of intervenors, the application must be filed within 30 days of intervention or designation of the trial judge, whichever is later, but in no event may any intervening party obtain a change of judge pursuant to this Rule 51 unless the application is filed within 180 days of the designation of the trial judge.

(c) A copy of the application and notice of the time when it will be presented to the court shall be served on all parties.

(d) Application for change of judge may be made by one or more parties in any of the following classes: (1) plaintiffs; (2) defendants; (3) third-party plaintiffs (where a separate trial has been ordered); (4) third-party defendants; or (5) intervenors. Each of the foregoing classes is limited to one change of judge, and any such change granted any one or more members of a class exhausts the right of all members of the class to a change of judge. However, no party shall be precluded from later requesting any change of judge for cause. Further, in condemnation cases involving multiple defendants, as to which separate trials are to be held, each separate trial to determine damages shall be treated as a separate case for purposes of change of judge.

(e) The judge promptly shall sustain a timely application for change of judge upon its presentation. The disqualified judge shall transfer the case to a judge stipulated to by the parties if the new judge agrees to take the case. If the case is not so transferred, the disqualified judge shall notify the presiding judge:

(f) If after a change of judge has been granted the action shall be removed on application of another party to some other county in the same circuit, the transferred judge shall continue as the judge therein.

(Adopted Nov. 15, 1974, eff. Sept. 1, 1975. Amended June 24, 1986, eff. Jan. 1, 1987; June 16, 1989, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; June 1, 1993, eff. Jan. 1, 1994; March 22, 1994, eff. Jan. 1, 1995; June 17, 1997, eff. Jan. 1, 1998; May 26, 1998, eff. Jan. 1, 1999; June 17, 2004, eff. Jan. 1, 2005; May 19, 2010, eff. Jan. 1, 2010.)