In today’s per curiam (dated May 28, 2009), the Arkansas Supreme Court announces two significant changes to appellate practice in Arkansas with the adoption of the Court’s new Rule 5-2.
(1) Arkansas Becomes First State with Electronic Official Reports
First, “effective July 1, 2009, the electronic version of appellate decisions posted on the Arkansas Judiciary website will be the official report of those decisions.” With this decision, Arkansas will become “the first state in the nation to publish and distribute the official report of its appellate decisions electronically.”
When the Court launches the new format for its official reports this summer, the searchable database maintained by the Reporter of Decisions will include all opinions issued after February 14, 2009, which is the closing date for the final volumes of the Arkansas Reports and the Arkansas Appellate Reports (375 Ark./104 Ark. App.). Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 5-2 has been rewritten to reflect these changes.
(2) Court Abandons Use of “Unpublished” Decisions
Second, the Court’s change to Rule 5-2 “abandons the distinction between published and unpublished opinions and makes every Supreme Court and Court of Appeals opinion issued after July 1, 2009, precedent.”
In adopting this change, the Court notes that the General Assembly had expressed its view on this matter in Act 162 of 2009. For a discussion of the effects of the passage of Act 162 of 2009 earlier this year, see Arkansas General Assembly Revives Anastasoff Controversy–Pondering the Effect of Act 162.