Rule 56. When Court Is Open

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(a) In General. A district court is considered always open for any filing, and for issuing and returning process, making a motion, or entering an order.

(b) Office Hours. The clerk's office—with the clerk or a deputy in attendance—must be open during business hours on all days except Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.

(c) Special Hours. A court may provide by local rule or order that its clerk's office will be open for specified hours on Saturdays or legal holidays other than those set aside by statute for observing New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth National Independence Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.


(As amended Dec. 27, 1948, eff. Oct. 20, 1949; Feb. 28, 1966, eff. July 1, 1966; Dec. 4, 1967, eff. July 1, 1968; Mar. 1, 1971, eff. July 1, 1971; Apr. 25, 1988, eff. Aug. 1, 1988; Apr. 29, 2002, eff. Dec. 1, 2002.)

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1944

1. The first sentence of this rule is substantially the same as Rule 77(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [28 U.S.C., Appendix], except that it is applicable to circuit courts of appeals as well as to district courts.

2. In connection with this rule, see 28 U.S.C. [former] 14 (Monthly adjournments for trial of criminal causes) and sec. 15 [now 141] (Special terms). These sections “indicate a policy of avoiding the hardships consequent upon a closing of the court during vacations,” Abbott v. Brown, 241 U.S. 606, 611.

3. The second sentence of the rule is identical with the first sentence of Rule 77(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [28 U.S.C., Appendix].

4. The term “legal holidays” includes Federal holidays as well as holidays prescribed by the laws of the State where the clerk's office is located.

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1948 Amendment

To incorporate nomenclature provided for by Revised Title 28, U.S.C. §43(a).

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1966 Amendment

The change is in conformity with the changes made in Rule 45. See the similar changes in Civil Rule 77(c) made effective July 1, 1963.

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1968 Amendment

The provisions relating to courts of appeals are included in Rule 47 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1971 Amendment

The amendment adds Columbus Day to the list of legal holidays. See the Note accompanying the amendment of Rule 45(a).

Notes of Advisory Committee on Rules—1988 Amendment

The amendment is technical. No substantive change is intended.

Committee Notes on Rules—2002 Amendment

The language of Rule 56 has been amended as part of the general restyling of the Criminal Rules to make them more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. These changes are intended to be stylistic only.

Committee Notes on Rules—2023 Amendment

The amendment adds “Juneteenth National Independence Day” to the list of legal holidays. See Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, P.L. 117-17 (2021) (amending 5 U.S.C. § 6103(a)). A stylistic change was made.