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This research guide provides resources related to Appellate Advocacy.

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Sonya Huesman
Research & Instructional Librarian
Warren E. Burger Library
875 Summit Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105


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Court procedural rules and jury instructions are two types of material that are important for trial practice.

Courts use procedural rules to control how a case moves through the system from commencement to resolution and appeal.  There are rules specific to civil and criminal actions,  trial and appellate court, state and federal court, and there are also local court rules developed by an individual court. 

Jury instructions are the instructions the trial court gives a jury after the evidence and arguments are made, but before the jury begins its deliberations. These instructions are the charge to the jury regarding what they should consider, and decisions to be made. The Jury Instruction Guides provide model language for specific causes of action in civil cases or elements of an offense in criminal cases.

Trial Court Rules

There are many sources for trial court rules. Rules are published with the statutes although they are not technically statutes. When you use the annotated statutes you get the benefit of additional materials like historical notes, citations to relevant law review and journal commentaries, library references (CJS, key number for digest searching), treatise and practice aids as well as notes of decisions (cases).

Jury Instruction Guides

Jury instructions are given to the trial jury by the court after the evidence and arguments have been presented. The instructions include the elements of the cause of action in a civil case or the elements of an offense in a criminal case. They are very specific to the law that governs the claims being made or crimes being charged.

The Minnesota Practice Series is the most commonly used source for the Minnesota Jury Instruction Guides in Minnesota. It is available in print on the Entry Level of the library in the reference area, and on Westlaw:

Client Skills and Professional Responsibility

Trial Skills & Advocacy