Civil Procedure II

Bench Trial

A bench trial is when the court finds facts instead of a jury. It is detailed in Rule 52.

Fact findings by a judge will not be set aside on appeal "unless clearly erroneous, and the reviewing court must give due regard to the trial court's opportunity to judge the witnesses' credibility." Rule 52(a)(6).

  • Law is reviewed de novo by the appellate court.
  • Findings of fact are given deference by the appellate court and will only be overturned if the reviewing court is left with "the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed."

A court can modify an order within 28 days. Rule 52(b).