JURY INSTRUCTIONS – WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

Badger Blog

LAW BADGERS LOGO
October 3, 2022

RAJIs

You may have noticed in our Badger Blog posts that we frequently cite the “Revised Arizona Jury Instructions(Civil)” (commonly known as “RAJIs” for short) as authority.

Why do we do that? Because they are simple statements of current law that the judge is almost certainly going to give the jury at trial.

instructions
judge gavel
quote

 The RAJIs certainly do not cover every issue or topic or nuance of law. But on the topics they do cover, we consider them to be pretty authoritative.

Interestingly, Arizona law does not require or recommend any particular form or set of instructions to be used at trial. 

RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE

The closest we get is Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 51, which says that “[j]ury instructions should be as readily understandable as possible by individuals unfamiliar with the legal system.” The Rule then goes on to list topics that the jury should be instructed on. Many of these are procedural or have to do with the duty of jurors – topics we have covered in previous Badger Blog posts.

The RAJIs are prepared and published by the Civil Jury Instruction Committee of the State Bar of Arizona (the “Committee”), which meets eight times per year. The RAJIs cover many legal topics ranging from negligence, to contracts, to business torts and others, as well as numerous subtopics within each of these.

As you probably know, the law changes over time, often slowly but sometimes very suddenly. The Committee keeps up with the law, and revises, deletes, or adds instructions as necessary to keep up. In our experience as trial lawyers, Arizona state court judges will use the RAJI’s unless there is no RAJI instruction covering a particular issue on which the jury should be instructed, or unless one of the parties can convince the judge that a particular RAJI instruction does not accurately reflect the current law (such as when there is a new, groundbreaking decision of the Arizona Supreme Court).

Another reason we like citing the RAJIs is that they are very simple and concise. The Committee obviously has gone to great pains to eliminate “legalese” and to make them understandable. We don’t want to bog you down with case law or the nuances of complex statutes. That’s what we do for a living. We think that when we want to explain a legal principle to someone who is not living the law all the time, why not use a short, easily understandable definition that judges use every day in court?

If you’ve been injured and need a lawyer who will fight for your rights, call Law Badgers at 1.833.383.4448 (833 DTF IGHT) or email us at info@lawbadgers.com. We’re here to help.

Learn more about our car accident practice here:

https://lawbadgers.com/phoenix-arizona-practice-areas/phoenix-arizona-car-accidents/

Learn more about our criminal law practice here:

https://lawbadgers.com/phoenix-arizona-practice-areas/criminal-law/

Related Articles

Badger Blog

So, You Want to Sell Your Haunted House?

SPDS SERIESSO, YOU WANT TO SELL YOUR HAUNTED HOUSE?SO YOU WANT TO SELL YOUR HAUNTED HOUSE – DO YOU HAVE TO DISCLOSE IT? You’ve owned and lived in your old house for many years, and now you want to sell it. You know from a previous Badger Blog post that Arizona law...

read more

Arizona Defamation Law

LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE! - ARIZONA DEFAMATION LAWARIZONA DEFAMATION Gossip. We’ve probably all been guilty of it at some point. We’ve all known people who seem to gossip all the time. Some people make lucrative careers of peddling gossip. Part of us knows it’s wrong...

read more

Arizona’s Stupid Motorist Law

ARIZONA'S STUPID MOTORIST LAWArizona's Stupid Motorist Law Arizona is home to the so-called “stupid motorist” law, A.R.S. § 28-910. That statute provides that the driver of a vehicle on a public street or highway that is temporarily covered by water  and is barricaded...

read more
Share This