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Book Chapter

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The Federal Rules of Evidence, enacted by Congress, became effective on July 1, 1975. Ten states have adopted state versions of the Federal Rules to govern trials in their courts, and about half the remaining states are considering whether to follow suit. Michigan is one of these latter states. Early in 1977 a committee appointed by the Supreme Court of Michigan proposed rules of evidence for Michigan closely patterned on the Federal Rules, and, if all goes well, the Court will promulgate rules for the Michigan courts to become effective in 1977 or soon thereafter. Michigan lawyers should be aware of the changes these proposed rules will bring about; some of them affect the problems covered in this chapter. I urge you to acquire a pamphlet copy of the Federal Rules and the notes that accompany them. They are available inexpensively from the major publishers. Those Rules surely are the wave of the Michigan future. Moreover, the commentaries are extraordinarily valuable summaries of the law on the particular subject. Where a new rule has changed the law, the draftsmen have indicated what the law was before, to show what the change is. Where the rule is an embodiment-a codification-of the existing law generally, then that is so stated. The commentaries on the Federal Rules constitute one of the best quick-reference guides to the law of evidence. Additionally, the Michigan Committee's proposed Rules include "Impact Notes" that summarize prior Michigan law on each point.