Rule 7.308 Certified Questions and Advisory Opinions

(A)   Certified Questions

(1)   From Michigan Courts.

(a)   Whenever a court or tribunal from which an appeal may be taken to the Court of Appeals or to the Supreme Court has pending before it an action or proceeding involving a controlling question of public law, and the question is of such public moment as to require an early determination according to executive message of the governor addressed to the Supreme Court, the Court may authorize the court or tribunal to certify the question to the Court with a statement of the facts sufficient to make clear the application of the question. Further proceedings relative to the case are stayed to the extent ordered by the court or tribunal, pending receipt of a decision of the Supreme Court.

(b)   If any question is not properly stated or if sufficient facts are not given, the Court may require a further and better statement of the question or of the facts.

(c)   The Court shall render its decision on a certified question in the ordinary form of an opinion, to be published with other opinions of the Court.

(d)   After the decision of the Court has been sent, the court or tribunal will proceed with or dispose of the case in accordance with the Court’s answer.

(2)   From Other Courts.

(a)   When a federal court, another state’s appellate court, or a tribal court considers a question that Michigan law may resolve and that is not controlled by Michigan Supreme Court precedent, the court may on its own initiative or that of an interested party certify the question to the Court.

(b)   A certificate may be prepared by stipulation or at the certifying court’s direction, and must contain

(i)   the case title;

(ii)   a factual statement; and

(iii)   the question to be answered.

The presiding judge must sign it, and the clerk of the federal, other state, or tribal court must certify it.

(c)   With the certificate, the parties shall submit

(i)   briefs conforming with MCR 7.312;

(ii)   a joint appendix conforming with MCR 7.312(D); and

(iii)   a request for oral argument on the title page of the pleading, if oral argument is desired.

(d)   If the Supreme Court responds to the question certified, the clerk shall send a copy to the certifying court.

(e)   The Supreme Court shall divide costs equally among the parties, subject to redistribution by the certifying court.

(3)   Submission and Argument. Certified questions may be submitted for a decision after receipt of the question. Oral argument of a certified question under subrule (2), if properly requested under subrule (2)(c)(iii), or under subrule (1) if desired by the Court, will be scheduled in accordance with MCR 7.313.

(B)   Advisory Opinion

(1)   Form of Request. A request for an advisory opinion by either house of the legislature or the governor pursuant to Const 1963, art 3, § 8 may be in the form of letter that includes a copy or verbatim statement of the enacted legislation and identifies the specific questions to be answered by the Court. Four copies of the request (1 signed) and supporting documents are to be filed.

(2)   Briefing. The governor, any member of the house or senate, and the attorney general may file briefs in support of or opposition to the enacted legislation within 28 days after the request for an advisory opinion is filed. Interested parties may file amicus curiae briefs on motion granted by the Court. The party shall file 4 copies of the brief (1 signed), which must conform as nearly as possible to MCR 7.212(B) and (C).

(3)   Submission and Argument. Advisory opinions may be submitted for a decision after the brief in support of the advisory opinion request has been filed. There is no oral argument on a request for an advisory opinion unless ordered by the Court.

(4)   Decision. The Supreme Court may deny the request for an advisory opinion by order, issue a peremptory order, or render a decision in the ordinary form of an opinion, to be published with other opinions of the Court.