Council On Local Mandates | Questions and Answers
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How are Council Members appointed and how long do they serve?

Who are the parties to a case before the Council?

Who can file a Complaint with the Council?

How do I file a Complaint?

What happens after a Complaint is filed?

Who "answers" or opposes a filed Complaint, and how is it done?

If I am not a party to a case, how can I make my views about that case known to the Council?

What is an "amicus curiae"?

Why does the Council have Rules of Procedure?

Do I need to be represented by an attorney in order to file a Complaint, an Answer or a Request to Appear as Amicus Curiae?

How do I find out about the details of an ongoing case, if I am not a party or an amicus curiae?

How can I get copies of written decisions issued by the Council, or learn about the facts of a case that has been decided by the Council?

 

• How are Council Members appointed and how long do they serve?

The Governor appoints four Council Members, two from a list supplied by the Chair of the opposing political party. The terms of the Governor's appointees are four years. The Senate President, Senate Minority Leader, Speaker of the Assembly and Assembly Minority Leader each appoint one Member. The terms of legislative appointees are two years. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appoints one Member, whose term is five years. See, N.J.S.A. 52:13H-6.

• Who are the parties to a case before the Council?

The parties are: the Claimant, the person or entity who has filed the Complaint, and the Respondent, the group or individual who has filed an Answer.

• Who can file a Complaint with the Council?

The Council enabling statute specifies that complaints are to be filed by municipalities, school districts and counties. A county executive or a mayor who has been directly elected by the voters of the municipality may also file a written complaint with the Council, after providing the governing body with written notice of intention to file. See, N.J.S.A. 52:13H-12. These and other statutory requirements are included in the Council's Rules of Procedure. See, e.g., Rule 5 of the Rules of Procedure.

• How do I file a Complaint?

Rule 3 and Rule 5 of the Council's Rules of Procedure describe the procedural and substantive requirements for filing a Complaint. How to file a Complaint provides step-by-step instructions and includes a link to the newly revised Complaint Form (PDF 833.29 K) that must be used to file a Complaint.

• What happens after a Complaint is filed?

The Council reviews the filed Complaint to determine if it meets the threshold requirements of the law and of its Rules of Procedure. If it does, the Council then causes the Complaint to be served on State officials as described in Rule 9 (a) of the Council's Rules.

• Who "answers" or opposes a filed Complaint, and how is it done?

The Council identifies the group(s) and/or individual(s) who must file an answer to a Complaint. The Council also may permit other group(s) or individual(s) to file an answer to a Complaint. Requirements for filing answers are set forth in Rule 3 and Rule 6 of the Council's Rules.

• If I am not a party to a case, how can I make my views about that case known to the Council?

Any group or individual may file a Request to Appear as Amicus Curiae. Requirements for filing Requests are set forth in Rule 3 and Rule 7 of the Council's Rules.

• What is an "amicus curiae"?

An amicus curiae or "amicus" (plural: amici curiae or "amici") is not a party to a proceeding, but is a "friend of the court." If the Council grants a Request to Appear as Amicus Curiae, the requesting group or individual may be permitted to submit a brief or participate in oral argument at hearing, based on a special interest that the group or individual describes in its Request.

• Why does the Council have Rules of Procedure?

The Council adopted Rules of Procedure in order to provide for the orderly disposition of cases that come before it, and to ensure that parties and others involved in a case are given adequate notice regarding case events. For example, if a party files a motion (an application) with the Council, under Rule 3 (f) that party must serve a copy of the motion on all other parties and on any amicus curiae.

• Do I need to be represented by an attorney in order to file a Complaint, an Answer or a Request to Appear as Amicus Curiae?

No. It is not required that parties and amici curiae to Council proceedings be represented by counsel. However, representation of a Claimant by an attorney is preferred and recommended. See Rule 3(e) of the Council's Rules.

• How do I find out about the details of an ongoing case, if I am not a party or an amicus curiae?

You may refer to the Pending Cases section of this site to obtain information regarding the procedural history of an ongoing case, as well as summaries of filings made before the Council, and case calendar information.

• How can I get copies of written decisions issued by the Council, or learn about the facts of a case that has been decided by the Council?

The Council Decisions section of this site contains information regarding ways in which copies of Council decisions may be obtained. Generally, decisions may be downloaded or printed through this web site, or may be obtained by contacting the Council office through the information supplied under Address, E-mail & Telephone.

Factual and/or procedural background for a case decided by the Council may be included in the written decision. In addition, the procedural history and pleading summaries of a case, as last updated on this web site, and copies of actual pleadings filed, may be obtained as described in the Access to Records section of this site.

The Case Histories section of this site provides an index of decided cases, to help identify different Council decisions by their facts and a summary list of issues.