On October 7, 1977, at the request of the Utah Supreme Court, the Utah State Bar Commission established a special committee to examine whether the Federal Rules of Evidence should be adopted for practice before the courts of the State of Utah. The committee was composed of Parker M. Nielson, Chairman, the Honorable D. Frank Wilkins, the Honorable Ronald O. Hyde, the Honorable George E. Ballif, Professor Ronald N. Boyce, Professor Edward L. Kimball, Ramon M. Child and Stephen B. Nebeker. Ronald J. Yengich and Virginius Dabney were subsequently added to the committee.
The Committee met pursuant to the foregoing appointment, and recommended adoption of the Federal Rules of Evidence by the Supreme Court pursuant to the general judicial powers contained in the Constitution of Utah, Article VIII, Section 1 to supervise inferior courts, and pursuant to the statutory rulemaking power of the Supreme Court contained in Utah Code Annotated, Section 78-2-4 (1953). It was the view of the Committee that, while the legislature may not enlarge judicial powers beyond those prescribed by the Constitution of Utah, Robinson v. Durand, 36 Utah 93, 104 Pac. 760 (1908), the power to promulgate rules is within the general judicial powers conferred by Article VIII, Section 1. Any existing statutes inconsistent with these rules, if and when these rules are adopted by the Supreme Court, will be impliedly repealed.
The effort in proposing these rules, as with the Federal Rules of Evidence on which they are based, is not to codify the law of evidence, but to formulate guides from which the law of evidence can grow and develop. These rules therefore supply a fresh starting place for the law of evidence and do not present an ultimate end.
The numbering and text of these rules conform to the Federal Rules of Evidence as promulgated by the Congress of the United States, effective July 1, 1975, except (1) where modifications of the text were made necessary by the fact that these rules govern state rather than federal proceedings and (2) in a small number of instances in which the rule adopted was considered sufficiently superior to the federal rule to justify departure from the objective of uniformity between Utah and federal rules. Where such modifications have been necessary, numbering consistent with the Federal Rules has been maintained. Unless modified, reference to the notes of the Advisory Committee to the Federal Rules of Evidence is pertinent to the meaning and effect of these rules, together with notes of the Advisory Committee to these rules.