Montana Code Annotated 2021



Part 8. Disqualification and Substitution of Judges Supreme Court Rule

Disqualification For Cause

3-1-805. Disqualification for cause.


This section is limited in its application to judges presiding in district courts, justice of the peace courts, municipal courts, small claims courts, and city courts.

1. Whenever a party to any proceeding in any court shall file an affidavit alleging facts showing personal bias or prejudice of the presiding judge, such judge shall proceed no further in the cause. If the affidavit is filed against a district judge, the matter shall be referred to the Montana Supreme Court. If the affidavit is in compliance with subsections (a), (b), and (c) below, the Chief Justice shall assign a district judge to hear the matter. If the affidavit is filed against a judge of a municipal court, justice court, or city court, any district judge presiding in the district of the court involved may appoint either a justice of the peace, a municipal judge or a city court judge, to hear any such proceeding.

(a) The affidavit for disqualification must be filed more than thirty (30) days before the date set for hearing or trial.

(b) The affidavit shall be accompanied by a certificate of counsel of record that the affidavit has been made in good faith. An affidavit will be deemed not to have been made in good faith if it is based solely on rulings in the case which can be addressed in an appeal from the final judgment.

(c) Any affidavit which is not in proper form and which does not allege facts showing personal bias or prejudice may be set aside as void.

(d) The judge appointed to preside at a disqualification proceeding may assess attorneys fees, costs and damages against any party or his attorney who files such disqualification without reasonable cause and thereby hinders, delays or takes unconscionable advantage of any other party, or the court.

History: En. Sup. Ct. Ord. dated June 17, 1987; amd. July 29, 1987; amd. Sup. Ct. Ord. Sept. 13, 1988, eff. Sept. 13, 1988; amd. Sup. Ct. Ord. dated January 6, 1994; amd. Sup. Ct. Ord. dated June 19, 2003, eff. June 19, 2003.