Title 7 Navajo Nation Code

Courts and Procedure

 

101. Signature defined

102. Navajo Nation Council defined

103. District Courts defined

201. Establishment;  composition

202. Seals of Courts

203. [Reserved]

204. Law applicable

205. Record of proceedings

206. Cooperation of Navajo Nation, federal and state employees

251. Composition

252. [Reserved]

253. Jurisdiction--Generally

253a. Long-Arm Civil Jurisdiction and Service of Process Act

254. Territorial jurisdiction

255. Writs or orders

256. Temporary or preliminary injunctive relief

257. Sovereign immunity of the Navajo Nation

291. Establishment

292. Composition

301. Composition and location

302. Jurisdiction--Generally

303. Writs or orders

351. Salaries

352. Removal from office

353. Retirement

354. Qualifications for judicial appointment

355. Appointment;  term of office

356. Probationary term

357. Evaluation

371. Administrative duties

372. Acting Chief Justice

373. Residence

374. Oath of Office

401. Judicial Branch personnel policies and procedures

409. Establishment

410. Purposes

411. Responsibility and authority

412. Personnel

413. Legislative oversight

421. Establishment

422. Purposes and powers

423. Composition and personnel

424. Legislative oversight

601. Court rules;  authority to adopt

602. Limitation of actions

603. Action in name of Navajo Nation;  authority to bring

604. Notice and opportunity to appear

605. Witnesses

606. Legal counsel;  right of representation;  unauthorized practice of law

607. Extradition

621. Repossession of consumer goods

622. Violation--Penalty

623. Civil liability

624. Severability

631. Action against provider of an alcoholic beverage

651. Right to jury trial

652. Lists of jurors;  preparation

653. Number of jurors

654. Eligibility of jurors

655. Challenges to jury

656. Instructions to jury

657. Verdict of jury

658. Jurors' fees

701. Judgment--Form and contents

702. Rendition

703. Lawful debt in proceedings to distribute decedents' estates

704. [Reserved]

705. Writs of execution--Generally

706. Issuance;  contents

707. Return

708. Appraisal of property seized

709. Notice and public sale of property seized;  proceeds;  bill of sale

710. Private sale of property seized;  delivery of unsold property to plaintiff or return to defendant

711. Property subject to execution and property exempt from execution

712. Execution prior to judgment

751. Security for costs

752. Assessment of costs

753. Fees and fines;  collection and disposition

801. Appeal from final judgment or order

802. [Reserved]

803. Scope of the appeal

804. Proceedings on appeal

851. Construction

852. Amendment

853. Severability

 

Navajo Nation Arbitration Act

1101. Short title

1102. Jurisdiction

1103. Written agreement to submit controversy to arbitration is valid

1104. Duty of court on application of party to arbitrate

1105. When court may appoint arbitrators

1106. Qualification of arbitrators

1107. Powers of arbitrators

1108. Notice and hearing

1109. Right to be represented by attorney or Navajo tribal court advocate;  effect of waiver

1110. Authority of arbitrators to issue subpoenas and administer oaths;  service of subpoenas;  depositions;  compelling person to testify

1111. Award of arbitrators

1112. Modification of award

1113. Expenses and fees for arbitrators

1114. Confirmation of an arbitration award by court

1115. When court may vacate award

1116. When court may modify or correct award

1117. Judgment upon granting order confirming, modifying or correcting award;  costs and disbursements

1118. Application to court to be by motion;  notice and hearing to be in manner provided by law

1119. Appeals

________________

 

101. Signature defined

 

                The term "signature" as used in this Title shall be defined as the written signature, official seal, or the witnessed thumb print or mark of any individual.

 

 

102. Navajo Nation Council defined

 

                The term "Navajo Nation Council," as used in this Title shall be construed to refer to the Navajo Nation Council, as defined in 2 N.N.C. 101.

 

 

103. District Courts defined

 

                The term "District Courts" as used in this Title shall include the District Courts, the Family Courts of the Navajo Nation, and any divisions thereof established by the Navajo Nation Council.

 

 

201. Establishment;  composition

 

                A. There is a Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation.

 

                B. The Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation government shall consist of the District Courts, the Supreme Court of the Navajo Nation, and such other Courts as may be created by the Navajo Nation Council.

 

                C. The Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation shall also consist of such additional Judicial Branch divisions, departments, offices or programs that further the purposes of the Courts as may be created, subject to amendment or abolishment, by the Judiciary Committee through adoption of their plans of operation.

 

 

202. Seals of Courts

 

                The Courts of the Navajo Nation shall each adopt a seal which shall be used to authenticate their respective judgments and other papers.  The form of the seals and regulations for their use shall be specified by rules of court adopted and placed in effect as provided in 7 N.N.C. 601.

 

 

203. [Reserved]

 

 

204. Law applicable

 

                A. In all cases the courts of the Navajo Nation shall first apply applicable Navajo Nation statutory laws and regulations to resolve matters in dispute before the courts.  The Courts shall utilize Din bi beenahaz'anii (Navajo Traditional, Customary, Natural or Common Law) to guide the interpretation of Navajo Nation statutory laws and regulations.  The courts shall also utilize Din bi beenahaz'anii whenever Navajo Nation statutes or regulations are silent on matters in dispute before the courts.

 

                B. To determine the appropriate utilization and interpretation of Din bi beenahaz'anii, the court shall request, as it deems necessary, advice from Navajo individuals widely recognized as being knowledgeable about Din bi beenahaz'anii.

 

                C. The courts of the Navajo Nation shall apply federal laws or regulations as may be applicable.

 

                D. Any matters not addressed by Navajo Nation statutory laws and regulations, Din bi beenahaz'anii or by applicable federal laws and regulations, may be decided according to comity with reference to the laws of the state in which the matter in dispute may have arisen.

 

 

205. Record of proceedings

 

                A. Each Court of the Navajo Nation shall keep a record of all proceedings of the Court, which shall reflect the title of the case, the names of the parties, the substance of the complaint, the names and addresses of all witnesses, the date of the hearing or trial, the name of the presiding Judge, the findings of the Court or jury, and the judgment, together with any other facts or circumstances deemed of importance to the case.

 

                B. A record of all proceedings shall be kept at the appropriate court and shall be available for public inspection unless prohibited by order of the Court for good cause or by applicable laws.

 

 

206. Cooperation of Navajo Nation, federal and state employees

 

                A. No employee or official of the Navajo Nation, federal or state government shall obstruct, interfere with or control the functions of any Court of the Navajo Nation or attempt to influence such functions in any manner except as permitted by Navajo Nation laws or regulations or in response to a request for advice or information from the Court.

 

                B. Navajo Nation employees, particularly those who are engaged in social service, law enforcement, health and educational work, shall assist the Court, upon its request, in the preparation and presentation of the facts in the case and in the proper disposition of the case.

 

 

251. Composition

 

                A. The District Courts of the Navajo Nation shall consist of judges recommended by the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council, appointed by the President of the Navajo Nation, and confirmed by the Navajo Nation Council.

 

                B. The District Courts of the Navajo Nation shall be located in such Judicial Districts of the Navajo Nation as are developed by the Judicial Branch, approved by the Judiciary Committee, and provided for in the Navajo Nation operating budget.

 

 

252. [Reserved]

 

 

253. Jurisdiction--Generally

 

                A. The District Courts of the Navajo Nation shall have original jurisdiction over:

 

                1. Crimes.  All offenses in the Navajo Nation Criminal Code (17 N.N.C. 101 et seq.) whereby any person commits an offense by his or her own conduct if the conduct constituting any element of the offense or a result of such conduct occurs within the territorial jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation Courts as defined in 7 N.N.C. 254, or such other dependent Indian communities as may hereafter be determined to be under the jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation and the Courts of the Navajo Nation.  The Navajo Nation Courts shall also have jurisdiction over any member of the Navajo Nation who commits an offense against any other member of the Navajo Nation wherever the conduct which constitutes the offense occurs.

                2. Civil Causes of Action.  All civil actions in which the defendant:  (1) is a resident of Navajo Indian Country ;  or (2) has caused an action or injury to occur within the territorial jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation.

                3. Miscellaneous.  All other matters provided by Navajo Nation statutory law, Din bi beenahaz'anii, and Navajo Nation Treaties with the United States of America or other governments.  All causes of action recognized in law, including general principles of American law applicable to courts of general jurisdiction.

 

                B. The Family Courts of the Navajo Nation shall have original exclusive jurisdiction over all cases involving domestic relations, probate, adoption, paternity, custody, child support, guardianship, mental health commitments, mental and/or physical incompetence, name changes, and all matters arising under the Navajo Nation Children's Code.

 

 

253a. Long-Arm Civil Jurisdiction and Service of Process Act

 

                A. Definitions.  As used in this Act, the term "person" includes an individual, executor, administrator, or other personal representative, or a corporation, partnership, association or any other legal or commercial entity, whether or not a citizen or domiciliary of the Navajo Nation and whether or not organized under the laws of the Navajo Nation.  The term includes all persons, natural or fictitious, of any kind.

 

                B. Personal jurisdiction based on enduring relationship or status.  A Court of the Navajo Nation may exercise personal and subject matter jurisdiction over a person domiciled in, organized under the laws of, or maintaining his, her, or its place of business in the Navajo Nation as to any cause of action or claim for relief.  A Court of the Navajo Nation may exercise personal jurisdiction over any member of the Navajo Nation regarding that person's status as a member of the Navajo Nation for activities outside this jurisdiction which affect any other member of the Navajo Nation.  A Court of the Navajo Nation may exercise civil jurisdiction over any person who assumes tribal relations with Navajos and the Navajo Nation by marriage, adoption, guardianship or other enduring relationship with Navajos.

 

                C. Personal jurisdiction based on conduct.  A Court of the Navajo Nation may exercise personal and subject matter jurisdiction over any non-member who consents to jurisdiction by commercial dealings, residence, employment, written or implied consent, or any action or inaction which causes injury which affects the health, welfare, or safety of the Navajo Nation or any of its members located within the territorial jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation, or any other act which constitutes the assumption of tribal relations and the resulting express or implied consent to jurisdiction.  A Court of the Navajo Nation may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person, who acts directly or by an agent, as to a cause of action for relief arising from the person's:

 

                1. Transacting any business in the Navajo Nation;

                2. Contracting at any place to supply services or things within the Navajo Nation;

               

                3. Causing tortious injury by any act or omission within the Navajo Nation;

                4. Causing tortious injury in the Navajo Nation by an act or omission outside the Navajo Nation if he or she regularly does or solicits business, or engages in any other persistent course of conduct, or derives substantial revenue from goods used or consumed or services rendered in the Navajo Nation;

                5. Having an interest in, using, or possessing real property in the Navajo Nation, including the actual occupancy or lease of trust land, allotted land, fee land, or any other land within Navajo Indian country;

                6. Contracting to insure any person, property or risk located within the Navajo Nation;

                7. Causing an act which creates an environmental hazard or degradation of the air, waters, flora, fauna, cultural artifact, or other resource of the Navajo Nation;

                8. Selling alcohol to any person who enters the Navajo Nation and who causes an injury in the Navajo Nation under the influence of alcohol;  or

                9. Any action or inaction outside this jurisdiction which causes actual injury or damage within the Navajo Nation, where such injury or damage was reasonably foreseeable.

 

                D. Service of process outside the Navajo Nation.  When the exercise of personal jurisdiction is authorized by this Act, service of process may be made outside the Navajo Nation, and where such service is not reasonably feasible, service may be made by any means which is likely to give the defendant actual notice of the pendency of an action.

 

                E. Inconvenient forum.  When a Navajo Nation Court finds that in the interest of substantial justice the action should be heard in another forum, the court may stay or dismiss the action in whole or in part on any condition that may be just.

 

                F. Other basis of jurisdiction unaffected.  A Court of the Navajo Nation may exercise jurisdiction on any other basis authorized by law, including the inherent and treaty jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation.

 

                G. Manner and proof of service.

 

                1. When the law of the Navajo Nation authorizes service outside the Navajo Nation, the service, when calculated to give actual notice, may be made:

                a. By personal delivery in the manner prescribed for service within the Navajo Nation;

                b. In the manner prescribed by the law of the place in which service is made in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction;

                c. By any form of mail addressed to the person to be served and requiring a signed receipt;

               

                d. As directed by a foreign authority in response to a letter rogatory;  or

                e. As directed by the Court.

                2. Proof of service outside the Navajo Nation may be made by affidavit of the individual who made the service or in the manner prescribed by the law of the Navajo Nation, the order pursuant to which service is made, or the law of the place in which the service is made for proof of service in an action in any of its courts of general jurisdiction.  When service is made by mail, proof of service shall include a receipt signed by the addressee satisfactory to the court and showing that the service was reasonably calculated to give actual notice.

 

                H. Individuals to be served;  special cases.  When the law of the Navajo Nation requires that in order to effect service one or more designated individuals be served, service outside the Navajo Nation under this Act must be made upon the designated individual or individuals.

 

                I. Assistance to tribunals and litigants outside the Navajo Nation.

 

                1. A Court of the Navajo Nation may order service upon any person who is domiciled or can be found within the Navajo Nation of any document issued in connection with a proceeding in a tribunal outside the Navajo Nation.  The order may be made upon application of any interested person or in response to a letter rogatory issued by a tribunal outside the Navajo Nation and shall direct the manner of service.  Otherwise, no process which is not process issued by a Navajo Nation Court or administrative tribunal with jurisdiction over the cause may be served within the Navajo Nation, and the Navajo Nation denies consent to admission to the Navajo Indian country to any state official or process server for the service of process unless the same is done under this Section.

                2. Service in connection with a proceeding in a tribunal outside the Navajo Nation may be made within the Navajo Nation only with an order of a Navajo Nation Court.

                3. Service under this Section does not, of itself, require the recognition or enforcement of an order, judgment, or decree rendered outside the Navajo Nation.

                4. A Navajo Nation Court may decline to order service of process where a tribunal outside the Navajo Nation lacks jurisdiction over the action, where the application is fraudulent, or where the action violates the public policy of the Navajo Nation.

 

                J. Other provisions of law unaffected.  This Act does not repeal or modify any other law of the Navajo Nation permitting any other procedure for service of process.

 

 

254. Territorial jurisdiction

 

                A. The territorial jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation shall extend to Navajo Indian Country, defined as all land within the exterior boundaries of the Navajo Indian Reservation or of the Eastern Navajo Agency, all land within the limits of dependent Navajo Indian communities, all Navajo Indian allotments, all land owned in fee by the Navajo Nation, and all other land held in trust for, owned in fee by, or leased by the United States to the Navajo Nation or any Band of Navajo Indians.

 

                B. The Courts of the Navajo Nation may also exercise jurisdiction over any action for probate, domestic relations, child custody, adoption and Navajo Nation benefits and services, in which a party is a Navajo resident of the Hopi-Partitioned Lands.

 

 

255. Writs or orders

 

                The District Courts shall have the power to issue any writs or orders necessary and proper to the complete exercise of their jurisdiction.

 

 

256. Temporary or preliminary injunctive relief

 

                No District Court of the Navajo Nation shall enter an order for temporary or preliminary injunctive relief in any proceeding in which there is no appearance by the defendant, unless:

 

                A. The District Court judge certifies in writing as to the specific irreparable harm which would occur were the temporary relief not to be ordered;  and

 

                B. The legal counsel for the plaintiff certifies by affidavit the reasonable efforts which have been made to locate the defendant or defendant's legal counsel to notify him or her of the hearing on preliminary or temporary injunctive relief.

 

 

257. Sovereign immunity of the Navajo Nation

 

                Jurisdiction of the District Courts of the Navajo Nation shall not extend to any action against the Navajo Nation without the Navajo Nation's express consent.  Any action against the Navajo Nation shall comply with the Navajo Sovereign Immunity Act, 1 N.N.C. 551 et seq., and any other law providing the Navajo Nation with immunity from suit.

 

 

291. Establishment

 

                There is established the Special Division of the Window Rock District Court.

 

 

292. Composition

 

                A. The Special Division of the Window Rock District Court shall consist of three judges or retired judges or retired justices, who shall be assigned in such manner and for such terms as is provided in this Section, for the purpose of appointing special prosecutors pursuant to 2 N.N.C. 2021--2024.

 

                B. Judges of the Special Division shall be appointed for terms of two years each, which terms shall commence on the date of the enactment of this Section, and thereafter on the date of every other anniversary of the enactment of this Section.

 

                C. The Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation shall designate and assign three judges or retired judges or retired justices to the Special Division for each successive two-year term.  At least two of the judges shall be active permanent judges of District Courts of the Navajo Nation.  The third judge may be either an active permanent judge of the Navajo Nation or a retired judge or retired justice of the Navajo Nation.  Unless there are an insufficient number of active permanent judges from at least two District Courts, not more than one judge or retired judge may be assigned to the Special Division from a particular District (or preceding trial) Court.  The Chief Justice shall designate one of the judges to be the presiding judge of the Special Division.

 

                D. Judges of the Special Division may only be removed during their terms upon their resignation, or by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the full membership of the Navajo Nation Council.  Any vacancy in such division shall be filled only for the remainder of the two-year period for which such vacancy occurs and in the same manner as initial appointments to such division were made.

 

                E. Except as provided under Subsection (F) of this Section, assignment to the Special Division shall not bar any other judicial assignment during the term of assignment to such division.

 

                F. No judge of the Special Division shall be eligible to participate in any judicial proceeding concerning a matter which involves a special prosecutor appointed by the Division while such special prosecutor is serving in that office, or which involves the exercise of such special prosecutor's official duties, regardless of whether such special prosecutor is still serving in that office.

               

                G. Within five calendar days of the enactment of this Section, the Special Division shall be created pursuant to Subsection (C) of this Section.

 

 

301. Composition and location

 

                A. The Supreme Court of the Navajo Nation shall consist of the Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation and two Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.

 

                B. The Supreme Court of the Navajo Nation shall be located in Window Rock, Navajo Nation (Arizona).

 

                C. The Supreme Court of the Navajo Nation may sit and conduct hearings outside of the Navajo Nation in accordance with policies established for the conduct of hearings outside the Navajo Nation.

 

 

302. Jurisdiction--Generally

 

                The Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction to hear appeals from final judgments and other final orders of the District Courts of the Navajo Nation and such other final administrative orders as provided by law.  The Supreme Court shall also have jurisdiction over original extraordinary writs.  The Supreme Court shall be the Court of last resort.

 

 

303. Writs or orders

 

                The Supreme Court shall have the power to issue any writs or orders:

 

                A. Necessary and proper to the complete exercise of its jurisdiction;

 

                B. To prevent or remedy any act of any Court which is beyond such Court's jurisdiction;  or

 

                C. To cause a Court to act where such Court fails or refuses to act within its jurisdiction.

 

 

351. Salaries

 

                Salaries for Justices and Judges of the Courts of the Navajo Nation shall be established by the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council, and in setting rates of compensation, the Committee shall take into consideration:

 

                A. The Navajo Nation Classification and Pay Plan;

 

                B. The need to attract outstanding Navajo candidates to the judiciary;

 

                C. The need to attract or compensate Justices or Judges who are graduates of a school of law or who have extensive experience in law or judging;

 

                D. Comparable salaries of Justices and Judges in the region;  and

 

                E. Any other objective criteria relevant to judicial compensation.

 

 

352. Removal from office

 

                A. The Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council may recommend the removal of any Justice or Judge from office if the Judiciary Committee determines reasonable cause exists to believe the Justice or Judge has engaged in malfeasance or misfeasance in office, serious neglect of duty, or has become mentally or physically unable to perform the duties of office.  The Chief Justice may recommend to the Judiciary Committee the removal of any Justice or Judge as provided for above.  Only if the Judiciary Committee does not follow the Chief Justice's recommendation may the Chief Justice recommend such removal directly to the Navajo Nation Council.

 

                B. The Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council may recommend the removal of any Justice or Judge from office if the Judiciary Committee determines there is substantial evidence that the Justice or Judge willfully or negligently made significant misrepresentations or omissions about his or her qualifications on his or her application for the judicial position.  The Chief Justice may recommend to the Judiciary Committee the removal of any Justice or Judge as provided for above.  Only if the Judiciary Committee does not follow the Chief Justice's recommendation may the Chief Justice recommend such removal directly to the Navajo Nation Council.

 

                C. A recommendation for removal under Subsections (A) or (B) above shall be presented promptly to the Navajo Nation Council by proposed resolution, and the Justice or Judge sought to be removed from office shall be given an opportunity to appear before the Navajo Nation Council and present evidence in his or her own defense.  The Navajo Nation Council is not bound by the formal Rules of Evidence in its considerations or deliberations.  Thereafter such Justice or Judge may be removed from office by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the full membership of the Navajo Nation Council.

 

                D. Documented and conclusive evidence that a Justice or Judge has been convicted of a felony in state or federal court since taking office, or that a Justice or Judge has been convicted of any tribal criminal offense which is also identified as a Major Crime in > 18 U.S.C. 1153 since taking office, shall result in the removal of such Justice or Judge by resolution of the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council.

 

 

353. Retirement

 

                A. Definitions.  The following definitions shall apply for purposes of this Section:

 

                1. Judiciary Committee means the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council.

                2. Navajo Nation Judge as used in this Section shall include the Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation, all Associate Justices of the Navajo Nation Supreme Court, and all Trial Judges of the Navajo Nation District Courts and Family Courts.

                3. Judges' Retirement Plan means:

                a. Either duly approved and established provisions directly applicable to Judges contained within the Retirement Plan for Employees of the Navajo Nation and Participating Affiliates or its successor;  or

                b. A duly approved and established Navajo Nation Judges' Retirement Plan document.

 

                B. Eligibility.

 

                1. Judges beginning service after the effective date of this Section:

                a. A Navajo Nation Judge beginning service after the effective date of this Section with a permanent appointment pursuant to 7 N.N.C. 355 may retire and receive retirement benefits only in accordance with the Judges' Retirement Plan and only after meeting the vesting, retirement age and other eligibility requirements of the Judges' Retirement Plan.

                b. The provisions of this Section specifically applicable to Navajo Nation Judges beginning service before the effective date of this Section are not applicable to Judges beginning service after the effective date of this Section.

                2. Judges beginning service before the effective date of this Section:

                a. The vesting, retirement age, and other eligibility requirements specifically identified in this Section as applicable to Navajo Nation Judges beginning service before the effective date of this Section shall be incorporated into and applied through the Judges' Retirement Plan.

                b. A Navajo Nation Judge beginning service before the effective date of this Section with a permanent appointment pursuant to 7 N.N.C. 355 may retire after having served a total of eight or more years in office.  A Navajo Nation Judge beginning service before the effective date of this Section who retires before reaching the age of 55 years pursuant to Subsection (B), but not due to disability, shall not receive retirement benefits until the Judge has reached the age of 55 years.

               

                c. A Navajo Nation Judge beginning service before the effective date of this Section who retires or resigns with less than a total of eight years in office shall not be eligible for retirement benefits under this Section.

                3. A Navajo Nation Judge who intends to retire shall compile all the necessary paperwork and forward it to the Chief Justice.  If the Chief Justice finds from the paperwork that the Judge meets the requirement for retirement, the Chief Justice shall give preliminary approval to the retirement request and forward the paperwork to the Navajo Nation Retirement Program for concurrence and processing of retirement benefits pursuant to the Judges' Retirement Plan.

                4. A Navajo Nation Judge's total years of service for purposes of calculating eligibility for retirement benefits shall begin with the date of confirmation by the Navajo Nation Council and include all years served as a Navajo Nation probationary Judge and as a permanent Judge.

 

                C. Removal;  effect on retirement benefits.

 

                1. The Navajo Nation Council may, upon recommendation of the Judiciary Committee, remove from office a permanent Navajo Nation Judge for inability to perform judicial duties due to permanent mental or physical disability.  The Chief Justice shall recommend removal to the Judiciary Committee.  A Navajo Nation Judge removed under Subsection (C) shall receive retirement benefits in accordance with the disability provisions of the Judges' Retirement Plan.

                2. A Navajo Nation Judge who has been removed from office for malfeasance, misfeasance, serious neglect of duty, or criminal conviction as set forth in 7 N.N.C. 352, shall be eligible for retirement benefits under this Section but shall not have the status of retired Judge.

 

                D. Permanent disability;  eligibility.

 

                1. A Navajo Nation Judge may retire if the Judge has become permanently disabled from performing his or her duties of office.  "Permanently disabled" means the permanent inability of the Judge, by reason of physical or mental incapacity, to perform any substantial part of his or her ordinary duties as a Navajo Nation Judge.  A Navajo Nation Judge who retires under Subsection (D) shall receive retirement benefits in accordance with the disability provisions of the Judges' Retirement Plan.

                2. A Navajo Nation Judge who intends to retire under Subsection (D) shall compile all the necessary paperwork and forward it to the Chief Justice for review.  The Chief Justice shall recommend to the Judiciary Committee whether the Judge is eligible to retire under Subsection (D).  The Judiciary Committee shall recommend to the Retirement Plan Administration Committee or its successor whether the Judge is eligible to retire under Subsection (D).  The Retirement Plan Administration Committee or its successor shall have final authority to determine whether a Navajo Nation Judge is eligible to retire under the disability provisions of the Retirement Plan.

               

                3. The Retirement Plan Administration Committee or its successor, with the concurrence of the Judiciary Committee, may develop nondiscriminatory procedures for evaluating the continuing disability of a Navajo Nation Judge retired under Subsection (D).  The retirement benefits of a Navajo Nation Judge retired under Subsection (D) shall be suspended for failure to comply with such procedures in a timely fashion or if the disability no longer meets the criteria of Subsection (D).

                4. The retirement benefits of a Navajo Nation Judge who retires under Subsection (D) shall be suspended during any time such Judge engages in the practice of law in any way, including the teaching of law.

 

                E. Benefit levels.

 

                1. Retirement benefits for Navajo Nation Judges beginning service after the effective date of this Section shall be established through the Judges' Retirement Plan document and administered through the Navajo Nation Retirement Program.  The Judges' Retirement Plan may take into consideration the American Bar Association Standards relating to judicial retirement.

                2. Retirement benefits for Judges beginning service before the effective date of this Section shall be incorporated into the Judges' Retirement Plan document and administered through the Navajo Nation Retirement Program.  Such benefits shall be equivalent to the Section 353 in effect during the Judge's service.

                3. A retired Navajo Nation Judge who is receiving retirement benefits pursuant to this Section shall not simultaneously receive salary, wages and/or stipends for work performed from those employers participating in the Retirement Plan for Employees of the Navajo Nation and Participating Affiliates or its successor.

                4. A Navajo Nation Judge's retirement benefits shall not be diminished except as specifically identified under Subsections (D) and (E).

 

                F. Pro Tempore service.  The Chief Justice may recall a retired Navajo Nation Judge to service as a Navajo Nation Judge pro tempore.  The retired Judge recalled to service shall be reimbursed only for reasonable expenses related to such service.  A Navajo Nation Judge who has retired due to disability or has been removed pursuant to Subsection (C) shall not be eligible for recall to service.

 

                G. Plan document.  The Judges' Retirement Plan shall:

 

                1. Incorporate the applicable amended Subsections of Section 353;

                2. Incorporate provisions for the continued payment of retirement benefits which have vested or will vest under the former Section 353;  and

                3. Include a Judges' retirement trust fund to pay judges their retirement benefits.

 

                H. Authority.  The Budget and Finance Committee, upon positive recommendation of the Judiciary Committee and the Retirement Plan Administration Committee, shall have the authority to approve the initial Judges' Retirement Plan document and any subsequent amendments.  This authority shall not be deemed to alter or amend the Retirement Plan Administration Committee's or the Navajo Nation Retirement Program's authority to administer the Judges' Retirement Plan or the Budget and Finance Committee's authority to administer the underlying trust fund.

 

               

                I. Effective dates.  Except for amended Subsections (B), (C), (D) and (E), these amendments to 7 N.N.C. 353 shall become effective upon enactment.  Subsections (B), (C), (D) and (E) shall become effective after a final Navajo Nation Judges' Retirement Plan has been recommended by the Judiciary Committee and the Retirement Plan Administration Committee and approved by the Budget and Finance Committee and the Judges retirement trust fund fully funded by the Navajo Nation Council.  For purposes of this Subsection, fully funded shall mean funded to a level sufficient to satisfy the funding requirements of the Employees Retirement Insurance Security Act  > [FN1] if such Act was applicable to the Judges Retirement Plan.

 

 

354. Qualifications for judicial appointment

 

                A. District Courts.  The following standards and qualifications shall apply to all judicial appointments to the District Courts of the Navajo Nation:

 

                1. Member of Navajo Nation and Age.  An applicant shall be an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and shall be over 30 years of age.

                2. Criminal Convictions.  An applicant shall not have any felony or other conviction of an offense identified as a Major Crime in > 18 U.S.C. 1153 in any jurisdiction.  An applicant shall not have any misdemeanor convictions in any jurisdiction within a five consecutive year period prior to the date the application is submitted.

                3. Education.  Each applicant shall have earned, at a minimum, an Associate of Arts or Science degree from an accredited institution of higher education.  An applicant who has earned a higher educational degree shall be preferred, with particular preference being given to a law degree (J.D. or LL.M.).

                4. Experience.  Each applicant shall have at least four years direct work experience in a law related area and shall have a working knowledge of Navajo and applicable federal and state laws.  Those applicants with experience working with the Navajo Nation Courts or with state and federal courts shall be preferred.

                5. Knowledge of Navajo Language, Culture and Tradition.  Each applicant must be able to speak both Navajo and English, and have some practical knowledge of the fundamental laws of the Din.  The applicant must be able to demonstrate:

                a. An understanding of K', including the Din clan system;  and

                b. A basic understanding of traditional Navajo religious ceremonies;  and

                c. An understanding of the traditional Navajo lifestyle.

                6. Health.  Each applicant shall produce a current statement from a licensed physician indicating that the applicant is in good mental health.

                7. Driver's License.  Each applicant shall possess a valid driver's license.

                8. No Substance Abuse or Addiction.  In addition to the requirement of obtaining a medical statement pursuant to Subsection (A)(6) above, each applicant must attest that he or she does not abuse or have a harmful physical addiction to any mood altering substance.

               

                9. Writing Test.  Upon initial screening of applicants by the Judiciary Committee, those applicants selected shall submit to a writing test that illustrates each applicant's organizational, analytical and communicative legal writing abilities.

                10. Ethics.  Each applicant shall show that he or she has neither present nor past conflicts of interests that give the appearance of partiality or bias in cases brought in the Courts of the Navajo Nation.  Each applicant must demonstrate a commitment to judicial independence and an impartial background that will indicate neutrality and fairness for proper decision making.  An applicant shall not have been found in violation of:

                a. The Navajo Nation Ethics in Government Law;

                b. Standards of ethics or professional conduct for lawyers in any jurisdiction;  or

                c. Standards of ethics for judges or judicial codes of conduct in any jurisdiction;

 

within a five consecutive year period prior to the date the application is submitted.

                11. References.  Each applicant must be of good moral character and shall submit a minimum of four current letters of reference specifically regarding his or her application for judicial appointment.  At least one letter of reference shall be from a regular member in good standing with the Navajo Nation Bar Association.  Such letters shall outline the applicant's legal skills, motivation and employment performance, and the applicant's character and capacity for independence, honesty and impartiality.

                12. Management Ability.  Each applicant shall possess managerial and independent decision-making skills necessary for the efficient operation of a Court.  Information such as the applicant's record of supervising staff, coordinating budget and personnel requirements, verbal communication and writing abilities shall be carefully considered by the Judiciary Committee.

                13. Navajo Nation Bar Association.  Each applicant shall provide proof in his or her application that he or she is presently a regular or inactive member in good standing with the Navajo Nation Bar Association and shall maintain membership in good standing throughout his or her judicial career.

                14. Removal from office.  Navajo Nation probationary and permanent judges removed from office for any reason shall not be eligible for subsequent judicial appointment.

 

                B. Supreme Court.  The standards and qualifications applicable to judicial appointments to the District Courts of the Navajo Nation shall apply to all judicial appointments to the Supreme Court of the Navajo Nation with the following variations:

 

                1. Education.  Each applicant for judicial appointment to the Supreme Court shall have earned, at a minimum, a four-year Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education.  An applicant who has earned a J.D. or LL.M. shall be preferred.

               

                2. Judge Applicants.  A sitting Navajo Nation District Court Judge applicant who meets all requirements for appointment to the Supreme Court shall be preferred, in accordance with the following:

                a. A Navajo Nation District Court Judge (permanent or probationary) beginning service before the effective date of this Section shall be eligible for appointment to the Supreme Court irrespective of the increased minimum educational qualifications for either District Court Judges or Supreme Court Justices enumerated in this Section.  Provided, however, that such District Court Judge applicant shall meet all other minimum qualifications as set forth in this Section.

                b. A Navajo Nation District Court Judge (permanent or probationary) beginning service after the effective date of this Section shall not be eligible for appointment to the Supreme Court unless he or she meets all minimum qualifications for Supreme Court Justices as set forth in this Section.

 

                C. These minimum qualifications and educational requirements shall not affect the status of probationary or permanent Justices or Judges beginning service before the effective date of this Section.

 

                D. Each applicant shall be objectively evaluated, selected, appointed and confirmed based solely on their qualifications for the particular judicial position at issue and without regard to political affiliation or association.

 

 

355. Appointment;  term of office

 

                A. The President of the Navajo Nation shall appoint the Chief Justice, Associate Justices, and District Court Judges with confirmation by the Navajo Nation Council from among those applicants recommended by the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council.

 

                B. The Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, and all District Court Judges shall be appointed for a probationary period of two years and upon permanent appointment shall serve thereafter during good behavior.

 

                C. A probationary Chief Justice, Associate Justice or Judge shall not be recommended for permanent appointment unless he or she has successfully completed a course of training accredited for judges and he or she has received a satisfactory performance evaluation from the Chief Justice and the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council at the conclusion of the probationary Justice's or Judge's two-year probationary term.

 

                D. At any time during the probationary term of any Chief Justice, Associate Justice or Judge, the Judiciary Committee may recommend to the President of the Navajo Nation that the probationary Justice or Judge be removed from office.  The President of the Navajo Nation, pursuant to such recommendation, shall remove such probationary Justice or Judge from office.  Any Justice or Judge so removed shall not be eligible for the status of retired Judge, shall not be eligible for reappointment as a Justice or Judge, and shall not be called to sit in any case pursuant to 7 N.N.C. 353(F).

 

                E. At the conclusion of the two-year probationary term, the Judiciary Committee shall review the record and qualifications of each probationary Justice or Judge and shall recommend to the President whether or not each probationary Justice or Judge has satisfactorily completed the probationary term and should be appointed to a permanent position.  The President shall not appoint to a permanent position any probationary Justice or Judge not recommended by the Judiciary Committee.  The appointments shall be submitted to the Navajo Nation Council for confirmation.

 

 

356. Probationary term

 

                A. The probationary term for District Court Judges, the Chief Justice and Associate Justices shall be two years from the date of confirmation by the Navajo Nation Council.

 

                B. A permanent District Court Judge subsequently appointed as Chief Justice or Associate Justice shall also be subject to a two-year probationary term as described in Subsection (A) of this Section.

 

 

357. Evaluation

 

                Permanent Justices and Judges shall be subject to periodic objective evaluations in accordance with Judicial Performance Evaluation Policies and Procedures approved by the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council.

 

 

371. Administrative duties

 

                In addition to his or her judicial duties, the Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation shall supervise all Justices and Judges of the Navajo Nation and administer the Judicial Branch in accordance with applicable standards, rules, policies or procedures.  The Chief Justice shall also exercise such duties that are consistent with the Office of Chief Justice.

 

 

372. Acting Chief Justice

 

                A. The Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation shall designate in writing one Associate Justice of the Supreme Court to act as Chief Justice whenever the Chief Justice is absent from the territorial jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation, is on vacation, ill or otherwise unable to perform the duties of the Chief Justice.  The Chief Justice shall delegate to the acting Chief Justice some or all of the powers of the office of Chief Justice.  The Chief Justice may at any time change his or her written designation of the Associate Justice empowered to act as Chief Justice.

 

                B. The Chief Justice may designate in writing one permanent District Court Judge to carry out the administrative duties of the Office of Chief Justice whenever the Chief Justice and both Associate Justices are absent from the territorial jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation, ill or otherwise unable to perform the duties of the Chief Justice.  The designation shall expire at a time designated by the Chief Justice or whenever withdrawn in a separate writing by the Chief Justice and, in any event, shall automatically expire in five working days after the date of designation unless renewed in writing by the Chief Justice.

 

 

373. Residence

 

                A residence shall be furnished in Window Rock, Navajo Nation (Arizona), together with the cost of water, sewer, refuse disposal, electricity and natural gas, without charge to the sitting Chief Justice.  The Navajo Nation shall not be responsible or liable for any costs or expenses associated with an alternative residence if the sitting Chief Justice declines to reside in the specific residence provided by the Navajo Nation as set forth in this Section.

 

 

374. Oath of Office

 

                The Chief Justice of the Navajo Nation shall administer the oath of office to the President, Vice President, Navajo Nation Council Delegates, and all other elected officials as provided by law.  The Chief Justice may designate another Justice or Judge of the Navajo Nation to administer the oath.

 

 

401. Judicial Branch personnel policies and procedures

 

                All employment positions, including judicial appointments, within the Judicial Branch shall be governed by Judicial Branch personnel policies and procedures and Justices' and Judges' personnel policies and procedures approved by the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council.

 

 

409. Establishment

 

                It is hereby recognized and affirmed that there is a Navajo Nation Peacemaking Program (Hzhj Naat'anii) within the Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation.  The Peacemaking Program shall  be the central point of peacemaking information and coordination within the Navajo Nation Judicial Branch.

 

 

410. Purposes

 

                The purposes of the Navajo Nation Peacemaking Program include:  to promote a non-adversarial forum for solving disputes where the parties to the dispute voluntarily agree or are referred to peacemaking;  to promote peacemaking counseling services to clients of the Navajo Nation Courts;  to promote peacemaking support and assistance to Navajo Nation Courts when requested to make recommendations on sentencing;  to provide education and training on Navajo culture, traditions and other Navajo accepted beliefs to individuals, organizations, and communities;  to provide support and technical assistance to peacemakers;  to promote the research, development, and learning of Navajo culture, traditions, and other Navajo accepted beliefs in support of judicial and community programs;  and provide problem solving assistance to peacemakers, Judges, Court staff, and others concerning the peacemaking process.  Peacemaking is intended to promote healing and reestablish harmony among those persons participating in peacemaking.

 

 

411. Responsibility and authority

 

                The Navajo Nation Peacemaking Program shall  have the authority and power to undertake the following functions and duties:

          

                A. To conform the procedures of Hzhj Naat'anii to traditional Hzhj Naat'anii concepts, including K', clanship, and other principles of Navajo culture, traditions, and other Navajo accepted beliefs, establish standards and procedures for that process, and otherwise develop standards, principles, and procedures for the development of Hzhj Naat'anii in accordance with Navajo culture, traditions, and other Navajo accepted beliefs and the laws of the Navajo Nation.

 

                B. To maintain a list of peacemakers and provide technical support to peacemakers to facilitate the conduct of peacemaking.

 

                C. To periodically evaluate the techniques of peacemakers and the peacemaking process.

 

                D. To authorize peacemakers to enter into funding agreements with the Judicial Branch for mileage and training.

 

                E. To perform such other functions and duties that are in accordance with Navajo Nation law and purposes of the Navajo Nation Peacemaking Program and that will promote the practice of peacemaking.

 

 

412. Personnel

 

                The Navajo Nation Peacemaking Program shall be administered by a Peacemaking Program Coordinator.  All personnel, including the coordinator, shall be subject to Navajo Nation Judicial Branch personnel policies and procedures approved by the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council.

 

 

413. Legislative oversight

 

                The Navajo Nation Peacemaking Program shall operate under the legislative oversight of the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council pursuant to the powers granted that Committee in 2 N.N.C. 571 et seq.  The Navajo Nation Peacemaking Program shall operate pursuant to a Plan of Operation approved by the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council.

 

 

421. Establishment

 

                The Judicial Conduct Commission is established as an independent commission receiving administrative support and assistance from the Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation.

 

 

422. Purposes and powers

 

                A. The purposes and powers of the Judicial Conduct Commission are:

 

                1. To enhance public confidence in the Navajo Nation Judiciary by providing a fair, impartial and expeditious forum to hear complaints and grievances against Navajo Nation Justices and Judges involving alleged violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct, personnel policies for Justices and Judges, and any other Navajo Nation laws or policies that set standards of ethics and conduct for Justices and Judges.

                2. To investigate or direct the investigation of complaints or grievances against Justices and Judges;

                3. To make findings and recommend sanctions, as appropriate;  and

                4. To forward recommendations for suspension or removal of Justices and Judges to the Judiciary Committee and to the Chief Justice.

 

                B. The Judicial Conduct Commission shall refer all complaints not properly before the Judicial Conduct Commission to the proper authorities, such as the Chief Prosecutor, the Ethics and Rules Office, or the Disciplinary Committee of the Navajo Nation Bar Association, as necessary.

 

                C. The Judicial Conduct Commission shall develop and recommend its Plan of Operation, rules, policies and procedures, and operating budget, for approval by the Judiciary Committee, the Budget and Finance Committee, and the Navajo Nation Council, as necessary.

 

 

423. Composition and personnel

 

                A. Composition.  The Judicial Conduct Commission shall consist of five members serving staggered four year terms.

 

                1. One member shall be a sitting or retired federal or state court Justice or Judge in good standing in their respective jurisdiction selected by the Justices and Judges of the Navajo Nation Courts.

                2. One member shall be a retired Navajo Nation Justice or Judge in good standing with the Navajo Nation Bar Association selected by the Justices and Judges of the Navajo Nation Courts.

                3. Two members shall be regular or inactive members of the Navajo Nation Bar Association in good standing with no pending disciplinary proceedings against them and who have not been formally reprimanded or suspended within a four consecutive year period prior to their selection, selected by the voting membership of the Navajo Nation Bar Association.  The NNBA-selected members shall not be retired or removed Justices or Judges of the Navajo Nation Courts.

                4. One member shall be a member of the Navajo Nation public selected by the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council from among applicants submitting letters of interest and resumes to the Judiciary Committee.  The Judiciary Committee selected member shall not be a current NNBA member, nor a sitting, retired, or removed Justice or Judge of the Navajo Nation or any other jurisdiction.

 

                B. Personnel.  The Judicial Conduct Commission shall receive administrative support and assistance from the Judicial Branch of the Navajo Nation and shall hire personnel and approve Commission expenditures as provided for in the Judicial Conduct Commission Plan of Operation and the Navajo Nation operating budget.

 

424. Legislative oversight

 

                The Judicial Conduct Commission shall operate pursuant to a Plan of Operation and policies and procedures recommended by the Judicial Conduct Commission and approved by the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council.

 

 

601. Court rules;  authority to adopt

 

                A. The Supreme Court of the Navajo Nation shall, after providing reasonable public notice and a meaningful opportunity to respond, adopt rules of pleading, practice, and procedure applicable to all proceedings in the Courts of the Navajo Nation.  The Supreme Court shall specifically consult with the Attorney General of the Navajo Nation, the Chief Legislative Counsel, and the President of the Navajo Nation Bar Association prior to adopting any proposed rules of pleading, practice and procedure.

 

                B. The Supreme Court shall, after providing reasonable public notice and a meaningful opportunity to respond, adopt uniform rules for the admission of evidence in Navajo Nation Courts.  The Supreme Court shall specifically consult with the Attorney General of the Navajo Nation, the Chief Legislative Counsel, and the President of the Navajo Nation Bar Association prior to adopting any proposed uniform rules for the admission of evidence.

 

                C. The Supreme Court may independently adopt standard forms for pleadings, motions and other papers filed in Navajo Nation Courts by litigants.

 

                D. The Supreme Court may independently adopt standard forms for Navajo Nation District Court and Supreme Court judgments, writs, orders and opinions.

 

                E. No rule adopted by the Supreme Court shall be effective unless adopted in strict compliance with the requirements of this Section.

 

 

602. Limitation of actions

 

                A. There shall be commenced and prosecuted within two years after the cause of action accrues, and not afterward, the following civil actions:

 

                1. For personal injuries.  When death ensues from such injuries, such action for wrongful death shall be considered as accruing at the death of the party injured except as otherwise provided for in Section 602(A)(4) and (5).

                2. For trespass or property damage, or for detaining and converting the personal property of another to one's own use.

                3. For malicious prosecution, or for false imprisonment, or for injuries done to the character or reputation of another for libel or slander.

                4. No cause of action accrues for personal injury or wrongful death until the party having the right to sue has discovered the nature of the injury, the cause of the injury, and the identity of the party whose action or inaction caused the injury, or until, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, in light of available knowledge and resources, the party should have discovered these facts, whichever is earlier.  This Subsection applies to and revives all injured parties' claims, regardless of whether the claim may have been barred in the absence of this Subsection.

                5. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, an action to recover damages for property damage, personal injury or wrongful death caused by contact with, or exposure to, any substance causing injury resulting from the latent effects of exposure to any substance or combination of substances, in any form, upon or within the body or upon or within the property shall be commenced and prosecuted:

                a. Within three years of the date when the party having the right to sue has discovered the injury, the cause of the injury, and the identity of the person liable for the injury, or within three years of the time when, in light of the knowledge and resources available and of reasonable diligence, the party should have discovered these facts, whichever is earlier.

                b. This Subsection applies to and revives all injured parties' claims, regardless of whether the claims may have become barred in the absence of this Subsection, provided further, that no claim to recover such damages for injury prior to the date of this amendment will be barred on the basis of any law, until two years after the date of this amendment.

 

               

                B. There shall be commenced and prosecuted within three years after the cause of action accrues, and not afterward, the following actions:

 

                1. For debt where the indebtedness is not evidenced by a contract in writing.

                2. Upon stated or open accounts other than mutual and current accounts concerning the trade of merchandise between merchant and merchant, their factors or agents, but no item of a stated or open account shall be barred so long as any item thereof has been incurred within three years immediately prior to the bringing of an action thereon.

                3. For relief on the ground of fraud or mistake, which cause of action shall not be deemed to have accrued until the discovery by the aggrieved party of the facts constituting the fraud or mistake.

 

                C. There shall be commenced and prosecuted within four years after the cause of action accrues, and not afterward, actions by one partner against a co-partner or co-partners for settlement of the partnership account, or upon mutual and current accounts concerning the trade of merchandise between merchant and merchant, their factors or agents, and the cause of action shall be considered as having accrued upon a cessation of the dealings in which they were interested together.

 

                D. There shall be commenced and prosecuted within five years after the cause of action accrues, and not afterward, all probate actions.

 

                E. Civil actions for which no limitation is otherwise prescribed shall be brought within five years after the cause of action accrues, and not afterward.

 

                F. If an action is not barred by existing law, the time fixed in an amendment of such law shall govern the limitation of the action.  If an amendment to existing law would bar an action previously not barred by existing law, such action may be brought within one year from the time the amendment takes effect, and not afterward.

 

                G. If a person entitled to bring an action is at the time the cause of action accrues under disability of minority, mental incapacity or imprisonment, the period of disability shall not be deemed a portion of the period limited for commencement of the action.  Such person shall have the time after removal of the disability which is allowed to others.  The period of limitation shall not, however, be extended by the tacking or connection of one disability with another already commenced, notwithstanding any supervening disability.

 

                H. When a person dies in whose favor or against whom there is a cause of action, the limitation of the action ceases to run until 12 months after the death, unless a personal representative of the deceased person's estate is sooner qualified, in which case the limitation shall cease to run only until such qualification.

 

               

                I. When an action is barred by limitation, no acknowledgment of the justness of the claim or of liability therefor made subsequent to the time it becomes due shall be admitted in evidence to take the action out of the operation of the law, unless the acknowledgment is in writing and signed by the party to be charged hereby.

 

 

603. Action in name of Navajo Nation;  authority to bring

 

                A. All actions or the defense of all actions in the name of the Navajo Nation shall be brought by the Attorney General of the Navajo Nation or his or her designee.

 

                B. The attorney for any party claiming to sue or defend in the name of the Navajo Nation or on behalf of the Navajo Nation shall be required to submit proof of his or her authority.

 

 

604. Notice and opportunity to appear

 

                No judgment shall be given on any suit unless the defendant has been served notice in accordance with the applicable Court rules of such suit and given ample opportunity to appear in Court in his/her defense.  Evidence of the provision and receipt of notice shall be kept as part of the record in the case.

 

 

605. Witnesses

 

                A. The Judges of the Courts of the Navajo Nation shall have the power to issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses either on their own motion or upon motion of any of the parties to the case, which subpoena shall bear the signature of the clerk of the Court issuing it.  Failure to obey such subpoena shall be deemed to be a contempt and punishable according to applicable laws.  Service of such subpoenas shall be by a regular commissioned Navajo Nation Police Officer or by a person appointed by the Court for that purpose.

 

                B. Witnesses who testify voluntarily may be paid by the party calling them.  If the Court so orders, their actual expenses incurred in the performance of their function shall be assessed as a cost awarded to the prevailing party.

 

                C. Witnesses attending Court under subpoenas shall be entitled to the same fees as jurors.

 

 

606. Legal counsel;  right of representation;  unauthorized practice of law

 

                A. Legal counsel shall be allowed to appear in any proceedings before the Courts of the Navajo Nation provided that the legal counsel is a member in active status and in good standing of the Navajo Nation Bar Association.  Every defendant in a criminal case shall have the right to representation by legal counsel and in the event he has no such representation, he may proceed without legal counsel or a legal counsel may be appointed by the Judge.

 

                B. Only persons who are members in good standing of the Navajo Nation Bar Association shall provide legal representation in the Courts of the Navajo Nation, quasi-judicial, legislative, and administrative law forums, and other legal services within the territorial jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation.  Persons who are not members in active status and in good standing of the Navajo Nation Bar Association and who provide legal representation or other legal services within the territorial jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation, and who are not duly associated with members in good standing of the Navajo Nation Bar Association, shall be deemed to be conducting the unauthorized practice of law, and shall be subject to civil and/or criminal sanctions under Navajo Nation law.

 

                C. Persons conducting the unauthorized practice of law shall be subject to civil penalties, including triple the amount of all legal fees, costs, and other funds paid to them by persons to whom they have purported to provide legal representation or other legal services, a civil fine in the amount of five hundred dollars ($500) per occurrence, and, if not a member of the Navajo Nation, will be subject to exclusion from the Navajo Nation.

 

                D. Judges of the Navajo Nation Courts, administrative law judges, hearing officers, and the presiding officials of quasi-judicial or legislative bodies shall have the authority to determine, relative to matters heard before them, whether a person is a member in active status and in good standing of the Navajo Nation Bar Association, or duly associated with members in active status and in good standing of the Navajo Nation Bar Association, and the power to impose any of the civil sanctions set forth in Subsection (C) above.

 

               

                E. Persons conducting the unauthorized practice of law shall be liable for both actual and consequential damages suffered by persons with whom they have contracted for the provision of legal representation or other legal services.  Civil actions alleging the unauthorized practice of law shall be brought in the District Courts of the Navajo Nation.

 

 

607. Extradition

 

                Any person lawfully arrested for violating Navajo Nation criminal law(s) or detained by Navajo Nation Court order shall not be released to any other jurisdiction, including the federal government, except pursuant to formal extradition procedures as set forth in 17 N.N.C. 1951 et seq.

 

 

621. Repossession of consumer goods

 

                A. The consumer goods (goods regularly used or bought for use for personal, family or household purposes, including vehicles and mobile homes) of individuals possessed under credit agreements shall not be taken by any person, or agent of any person, except in strict compliance with  this Section.  Self-help repossession is prohibited on the Navajo Nation.  Unsuccessful attempts to repossess in violation of this Section shall also constitute a violation of this Section.

 

                B. Any person desiring to repossess consumer goods pursuant to any credit agreement where the goods are security for a debt, or other arrangement involving credit, must first obtain the written and informed consent of the debtor at the time the repossession is sought.  The written consent must be retained by the creditor or the creditor's agent and exhibited to any law enforcement or other Navajo Nation official upon demand.  No written consent obtained by fraud shall be deemed valid, and no repossession obtained by the enticement of the debtor or individual in possession to a place where self-help repossession is permitted shall be valid.  Only the debtor can give a valid consent to repossession.

 

                C. Where a debtor under this Section fails or refuses to give informed and written consent to a repossession, repossession may be effected only by a judgment of a Navajo Nation District Court in an appropriate proceeding.

 

                D. Transactions between merchants properly secured under the Navajo Uniform Commercial Code (5A N.N.C. 9-101 et seq.) are not transactions for consumer goods.  Transactions between merchants are exempt from the process set forth in Subsections (A), (B) and (C).  Neither consent to repossession nor judicial process are required to repossess goods obtained in a transaction between merchants.

 

                E. For purposes of this Section, the term "merchant" is defined in the Navajo Uniform Commercial Code, 5A N.N.C. 2-104, as may be amended.

 

 

622. Violation--Penalty

 

                A. Any nonmember of the Navajo Nation found to be in willful violation of 7 N.N.C.   621 may be excluded from the territorial jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation in accordance with the procedure set forth in 17 N.N.C. 1901-1906.

 

                B. Any business whose employees are found to be in willful violation of 7 N.N.C. 621 may be denied the privilege of doing business within the territorial jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation.  Any business that uses agents or others to repossess property in willful violation of 621 and avoids entering the Navajo Nation may be denied the privilege of advertising in Navajo Nation media, including newspapers, radio stations, and television channels, and no such business shall have the privilege of enforcing any contract within the Navajo Nation.  No state judgment obtained by such a business may be enforced in the Navajo Nation.  It shall be an affirmative defense to any action in debt or contract or to enforce a foreign judgment that the plaintiff was in willful violation of 621 or has engaged in a pattern or practice of violations of that Section.

 

                C. Any person who violates any provision of 7 N.N.C. 621 shall be subject to a fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000).  In addition, the person found in violation of this Subsection shall pay the fine set forth in 7 N.N.C. 623, or a minimum of five thousand dollars ($5,000) in liquidated damages as restitution to the debtor.  The restitution shall be paid at the same time or before the fine.

 

 

623. Civil liability

 

                A. Any person who violates 7 N.N.C. 621 and any business whose employee violates such section is deemed to have breached the peace of the Navajo Nation, and shall be civilly liable to the debtor for any loss caused by the failure to comply with 7 N.N.C. 621-623.

 

                B.  The debtor has the right to recover an amount not less than the credit service charge plus ten percent (10%) of the principal amount of the debt or the time price differential plus ten percent (10%) of the cash price.

 

                C. Debtor means the person who owes payment or other performance of an obligation secured by consumer goods, whether or not the debtor owns or has rights in the consumer goods.

 

                D. A Court may award punitive damages for any repossession that is willful, fraudulent, or unconscionable.

 

                E. No foreign judgment may be enforced permitting a repossession or replevin in substantial violation of 7 N.N.C. 621 or obtained to evade its provisions.

 

 

624. Severability

 

                If any provision or clause of 7 N.N.C. 621, 622 or 623, or application thereof to any person or any business or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications thereof which can be given effect without the invalid provision, and to this end, the provisions of the sections are declared to be severable.

 

 

631. Action against provider of an alcoholic beverage

 

                A. Any person who directly gives, sells, or otherwise provides liquor or any alcoholic beverage to any other person shall be strictly liable for any personal injuries, property damage, means of support to any third person (or to the spouse, child(ren) or parent(s) of that third person), or to a person who may bring an action for wrongful death where:

 

                1. The person who obtained the liquor or alcoholic beverage consumed the same;  and

                2. The consumption of the liquor or alcoholic beverage was a proximate cause of the injury, death or property damage.

 

                B. For the purposes of this Section, if it is found that the person who obtained the liquor or alcoholic beverage causes injuries or property damage as a result of the consumption of the liquor or alcoholic beverage within a reasonable period of time following his or her first obtaining the liquor or alcoholic beverage, it shall create a rebuttable presumption that the person consumed the liquor or alcoholic beverage provided to him or her by the person who gave, sold or otherwise provided the liquor or alcoholic beverage.

 

                C. If a person having rights or liabilities under this Section dies, the rights or liabilities provided by this Section survive to or against that person's estate.

 

                D. An action based upon a cause of action under this Section shall be commenced within five years after the date of injury or property damage.

 

                E. Nothing in this Section precludes any cause of action or additional recovery against the person causing the injury.

 

 

651. Right to jury trial

 

                In any criminal or civil case, but not in any domestic relations, decedent's estate, equitable proceeding, or miscellaneous case, as set out in 7 N.N.C. 253, any party shall, upon demand, be entitled to jury trial on any issue of fact.

 

 

652. Lists of jurors;  preparation

 

                The Judicial Branch shall prepare lists of eligible jurors from time to time.  Such lists shall constitute a fair cross-section of the Judicial District where jury trials will be held.

 

 

653. Number of jurors

 

                In any case, a jury shall consist of six residents of the Judicial District in which the trial is held, selected from the list of eligible jurors.

 

 

654. Eligibility of jurors

 

                Any person residing within the territorial jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation over the age of 18 years, of at least ordinary intelligence, and not under judicial restraint, shall be eligible to be a juror.

 

 

655. Challenges to jury

 

                Any party to the case may exercise no more than three peremptory challenges, and shall have an unlimited number of challenges for cause.

 

 

656. Instructions to jury

 

                The judge shall instruct the jury in the law governing the case.  Jury instructions may be selected by the judge from instructions prepared and presented by the parties.

 

 

657. Verdict of jury

 

                The jury shall bring a verdict for the plaintiff or the defendant.  In civil cases, a verdict may be rendered by a majority vote of the jury.  In criminal cases, a verdict shall be by a unanimous vote of the jury.

 

658. Jurors' fees

 

                A. Every person who is required to attend Court for selection or service as a juror shall be entitled to a reasonable fee not to exceed actual expenses incurred for attendance and reasonable compensation for mileage to and from his home to Court not to exceed the rate established for Navajo Nation employees for each separate day he is required to be present in court provided funds therefore are appropriated by the Navajo Nation Council.

 

                B. The party demanding a jury trial in a civil action may be required to prepay the mileage and compensation of jurors, and other costs of a jury trial.  Prepayment of such costs shall not be required if the party is proceeding in forma pauperis or if prepayment would deny that person the right to a trial by jury.

 

 

701. Judgment--Form and contents

 

                A. The judgment in all civil cases shall be an order of the Court awarding money damages to the injured party, directing the surrender of certain property to the injured party, directing the performance of an act for the benefit of the injured party, directing that a party refrain from taking action with regard to the injured party, or a declaration of rights of the parties.

 

                B. Where the injury was inflicted as the result of negligence, the judgment shall fairly compensate the injured party for his or her injuries or loss.  The Court shall consider the comparative fault of the parties in making an award of damages.

 

                C. Where the injury was inflicted deliberately, intentionally, willfully, wantonly, recklessly, unconscionably, or as the result of gross negligence, the judgment may impose additional penalties in the form of punitive damages in favor of the injured party .  Where punitive damages are awarded, there may be additional award of damages to the Navajo Nation for patterns and practices of conduct in violation of public policy or egregious conduct contrary to clear public policy.

 

 

702. Rendition

 

                The judge shall render judgment in accordance with the verdict of the jury and existing law.

 

 

703. Lawful debt in proceedings to distribute decedents' estates

 

                A judgment shall be considered a lawful debt in all proceedings held by the Department of the Interior or by a Court of the Navajo Nation to distribute decedents' estates.

 

 

704. [Reserved]

 

 

705. Writs of execution--Generally

 

                The party in whose favor a money judgment is given by the Courts of the Navajo Nation may at any time within five years after entry thereof have a writ of execution issued for its enforcement.  Provided, however, there shall be no limitation to the issuance of writs of execution for judgments for the payment of child support.  No execution, however, shall issue after the death of the judgment debtor, with the exception that judgments for the payment of child support shall survive against the estate of the judgment debtor.  A judgment creditor may have as many writs of execution as are necessary to effect collection of the entire amount of the judgment.

 

 

706. Issuance;  contents

 

                A writ of execution shall be issued by the Clerk of Court and addressed to any regular commissioned Navajo Nation Police Officer and shall direct him to seize and deliver to the Clerk of Court sufficient unrestricted and nonexempt personal property of the debtor to pay the judgment and costs of sale.  The writ shall specify the particular unrestricted and nonexempt property to be seized.

 

 

707. Return

 

                Within 90 days of his receipt of the writ of execution, the police officer shall return it to the Clerk of Court with the property seized, or with a written explanation of why the property cannot be delivered.

 

 

708. Appraisal of property seized

 

                Immediately upon receipt of the property seized under a writ of execution, the Clerk of Court shall cause it to be appraised item by item by an appraiser selected by the plaintiff and defendant to make an impartial appraisement.  If the plaintiff and defendant fail to agree on an appraiser, the Clerk shall make the selection.  The appraiser shall submit the appraisal to the Clerk of Court and send copies of the same to the plaintiff and defendant.

 

 

709. Notice and public sale of property seized;  proceeds;  bill of sale

 

                A. Within seven days of appraisal of property seized under a writ of execution, the Clerk of Court shall post in public places at least two notices of sale containing a full description of the property to be sold, together with the appraised value of each item and the time and place of sale.  The clerk shall also notify the judgment debtor of the time and place of sale, by means of first class mail if the judgment debtor's address is known, or by means of publication if such address is not known.

 

                B. The sale shall be held within a reasonable time after posting, in the same Judicial District in which the Court rendering the judgment of foreclosure is located.

 

                C. The Clerk shall sell the property publicly, to the highest bidder for cash, but for not less than the appraised price.  The clerk may sell the property by item or in bulk, at his or her discretion.

 

                D. The Clerk shall pay into court the expenses of sale and any unpaid court costs of either party from the proceeds of sale, and shall pay the balance up to the full amount of the judgment (less unpaid court costs of plaintiff) to the plaintiff.  Any excess shall be paid to the defendant.

 

                E. The Clerk shall deliver a bill of sale to the buyer upon request.

 

                F. Procedures for execution, storage and sale shall be in accordance with Court rules.

 

 

710. Private sale of property seized;  delivery of unsold property to plaintiff or return to defendant

 

                A. If the Clerk is unable to sell the property seized under a writ of execution for its appraised value, he or she may hold it for 14 days after the date of the attempted sale, during which time he or she shall sell it to the first person offering the appraised value in cash.

 

                B. The Clerk may at any time, however, after an unsuccessful attempted public sale and before an actual sale, upon request of the plaintiff and payment of all costs, deliver the property to the plaintiff and credit the appraised value thereof against the judgment debt.  If the appraised value is greater than the debt the Clerk shall not deliver the property to the plaintiff until the plaintiff pays the defendant in cash for such excess value.

 

                C. At the end of 14 days if the property remains unsold and unclaimed by the plaintiff the Clerk shall return it to the defendant.

 

 

711. Property subject to execution and property exempt from execution

 

                A. The following property shall be exempt from execution:

 

                1. One motor vehicle;

                2. Personal effects and clothing of a reasonable value as determined by the Court;

                3. Tools or equipment for a trade or profession of a reasonable value as determined by the Court;

                4. Health or medical equipment required by the judgment debtor to maintain health;

                5. An interest in a home where the judgment debtor resides of a reasonable value as determined by the Court;

                6. A reasonable subsistence amount of livestock as determined by the Court;

                7. Bona fide religious, ceremonial or sacred items and paraphernalia, and family heirlooms, as agreed to by the parties or determined by the Court.

 

                B. All other property shall be subject to execution and sale.

 

                C. A court may issue writs of garnishment upon the wages or monies of a judgment debtor held by third parties, subject to adoption of a Navajo Nation garnishment statute and associated rules, and further subject to limitations upon wage executions in federal law.

 

                D. A judgment debtor may challenge the seizure of property for sale as being exempt under Subsections (A)(2), (3), (4), (5), (6) or (7) in objections filed with the Court following the seizure of that property under 706.

 

 

712. Execution prior to judgment

 

                A. Prejudgment attachments are prohibited.

 

                B. Despite the prohibition in 712(A), a Court may, upon notice and an opportunity to be heard by the person who possesses the property, enter appropriate orders to prevent the destruction, removal, transfer, or disposition of the property which is the subject of the suit or the property which may be subject to a writ of execution.

 

                C. Where the action involves the ongoing payment of monies to the plaintiff or defendant making a cross or counterclaim, the court may require the payment of such monies to the Court pending the outcome of the action.

 

 

751. Security for costs

 

                In all civil suits a party may be required to deposit with the Clerk of the Court a fee or other security in a reasonable amount to cover costs and other disbursements in the case, such amount to be determined by Court rules.

 

 

752. Assessment of costs

 

                The court may assess the costs of the case against the party or parties against whom judgment is given.  Such costs may consist of the expenses of voluntary witnesses and witnesses attending court under subpoenas, fees of jurors in those cases where a jury trial is had, and any further incidental expenses connected with the proceeding as the court may order.

 

 

753. Fees and fines;  collection and disposition

 

                A. Fees, fines, and assessments (as permitted by law) shall be collected by the Courts of the Navajo Nation, in amounts set by Court rules.

 

                B. Fees, fines, and assessments (as permitted by law) shall be regularly deposited into the the Unreserved, Undesignated Fund Balance of the Navajo Nation.

 

 

801. Appeal from final judgment or order

 

                Every person aggrieved by a final judgment or order of a District Court, or the order of an administrative agency where the law provides for an appeal to the Supreme Court, shall file a notice of appeal in accordance with the applicable rules of appellate procedure within 30 days from the date of the judgment or order, or as otherwise provided by law.

 

 

802. [Reserved]

 

 

803. Scope of the appeal

 

                Appeals shall be limited to the issues of law raised in the record on appeal.

 

 

804. Proceedings on appeal

 

                A. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside at all proceedings before the Supreme Court.  If the Chief Justice is unable to preside for whatever reason, he or she shall designate in writing a presiding Justice from the Associate Justices.

 

                B. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may designate in writing any District Court Judge of the Courts of the Navajo Nation to sit on an appeal panel if the Chief Justice or an Associate Justice is unable to serve for whatever reason.

 

 

851. Construction

 

                This Title shall be so construed as to effectuate its general purposes and in such a manner as to assure judicial independence, the right of access to fair and independent remedies, the observance of Din bi beenahaz'anii, and the protection of the rights guaranteed by the Navajo Nation Bill of Rights.

 

 

852. Amendment

 

                This Title may be amended by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the full membership of the Navajo Nation Council at a regular session of the Navajo Nation Council, upon favorable recommendation by the Judiciary Committee of the Navajo Nation Council.

 

 

853. Severability

 

                If any provision of this title or the application thereof to any person, court or circumstances is held invalid by a Navajo Nation or federal court, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this title which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application and to this end, the provisions of this title are severable.

 

 

NAVAJO NATION ARBITRATION ACT

 

1101. Short title

 

                This Act may be cited as the Navajo Nation Arbitration Act.

 

 

1102. Jurisdiction

 

                An agreement providing for arbitration in the Navajo Nation may be enforced by the Navajo Nation district court in the judicial district where the parties to the controversy reside or may be personally served.

 

 

1103. Written agreement to submit controversy to arbitration is valid

 

                A written agreement to submit any existing or future controversy to arbitration is valid, enforceable and irrevocable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of the contract.

 

 

1104. Duty of court on application of party to arbitrate

 

                A. On application of a party showing an arbitration agreement and the opposing party's refusal to arbitrate, the court shall order the parties to proceed with arbitration.  If the opposing party denies the existence of the agreement to arbitrate, the court shall proceed summarily to determine the issue raised and shall order or deny arbitration accordingly.

 

                B. If an issue referable to arbitration under the alleged agreement is involved in an action or proceeding pending in a court having jurisdiction to hear applications to compel arbitration, the application shall be made therein.  Otherwise, the application shall be made in the court of proper venue.

 

                C. Any action or proceeding involving an issue subject to arbitration shall be stayed if an order for arbitration or an application therefor has been made or, if the issue is severable, the stay may be with respect thereto only.  When the application is made in such action or proceeding, the order for arbitration shall include such stay.

 

                D. An order for arbitration shall not be refused on the ground that the claim in issue lacks merit or because any fault or grounds for the claim sought to be arbitrated has not been shown.

 

 

1105. When court may appoint arbitrators

 

                If the arbitration agreement provides a method of appointment of arbitrators this method shall be followed.  In the absence thereof, or if the agreed method fails or cannot be followed, or when an arbitrator fails or is unable to act and his successor has not been appointed, the court on application of a party shall appoint one or more arbitrators.  An arbitrator so appointed has all the powers of one specifically named in the agreement.

 

 

1106. Qualification of arbitrators

 

                The qualifications of a person allowed to serve as an arbitrator, under this Act shall be set by the Navajo Nation Judicial Branch.

 

 

  1107. Powers of arbitrators

 

                The powers of the arbitrators may be exercised by a majority unless otherwise provided by the agreement or by law.

 

 

1108. Notice and hearing

 

                A. Whenever the Navajo Nation is a party to an arbitration, notice of intent to invoke arbitration shall be filed in compliance with 1 N.N.C. 555.

 

                B. The arbitrators shall appoint a time and place for the hearing and serve the parties with notice either personally or by registered mail not less than 10 days before the hearing. Appearance at the hearing waives the notice. The arbitrators may adjourn the hearing from time to time as necessary, and on request of a party or upon their own motion may postpone the hearing to a time not later than the date fixed by the agreement for making the award, unless the parties consent to a later date. The arbitrators may hear and determine the controversy upon the evidence produced notwithstanding the failure of a party duly notified to appear. The court on application may direct the arbitrators to proceed promptly with the hearing and determination of the controversy.

 

                C. The parties are entitled to be heard, to present evidence material to the controversy and to cross-examine witnesses appearing at the hearing.

 

                D. The hearing shall be conducted by all the arbitrators but a majority may determine any question and render a final award. If during the course of the hearing an arbitrator for any reason ceases to act, the remaining arbitrator or arbitrators may continue with the hearing and determination of the controversy.

 

 

1109. Right to be represented by attorney or Navajo tribal court advocate;  effect of waiver

 

                A party may be represented by a member in good standing of the Navajo Nation Bar Association at any arbitration proceeding or hearing.  A waiver of representation at an arbitration proceeding made prior to the proceeding is ineffective.

 

 

1110. Authority of arbitrators to issue subpoenas and administer oaths;  service of subpoenas;  depositions;  compelling person to testify

 

                A. The arbitrators may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses, for the production of books, records, documents and other evidence and may administer oaths.  Subpoenas shall be served, and upon application to the court by a party or the arbitrators, enforced in the manner provided by law for the service and enforcement of subpoenas in a civil action.

 

                B. On application of a party and for use as evidence, the arbitrators may permit a deposition to be taken of a witness who cannot be subpoenaed or is unable to attend the hearing, in the manner designated by the arbitrators.

 

                C. All provisions of law compelling a person under subpoena to testify are applicable.

 

 

1111. Award of arbitrators

 

                A. The award shall be in writing and signed by the arbitrators joining in the decision.  A copy shall be delivered to each party personally, or by registered mail or as provided in the agreement.

 

                B. An award shall be made within the time fixed by the agreement, or if not so fixed, within such time as the court orders on application of a party.  The parties may extend the time in writing either before or after the expiration thereof.  A party waives the objection that an award was not made within the time required unless he notifies the arbitrators of his objection prior to the delivery of the award to him.

 

                C. An award against the Navajo Nation shall be in conformance with the provisions of 1 N.N.C. 554(K).

 

 

1112. Modification of award

 

                A. On application of a party or an order of the court, the arbitrators may modify the award:

 

                1. When there was an evident miscalculation of figures or description of a person or property referred to in the award;

                2. When the award is imperfect as to form not affecting the merits of the controversy;  or

                3. For the purpose of clarifying the award.

 

                B. The application shall be made within 20 days after delivery of the award to the applicant.  Written notice shall be given promptly to the opposing party, stating he must serve his objections within 10 days from receipt of the notice.

 

 

1113. Expenses and fees for arbitrators

 

                A. The arbitrators' fees shall be set by regulation adopted by the Navajo Nation Supreme Court in accord with 7 N.N.C. 601.

 

                B. The arbitrators' expenses, fees and other costs, not including counsel fees, incurred in the arbitration shall be paid as provided in the award, unless otherwise provided in the arbitration agreement.

 

 

1114. Confirmation of an arbitration award by court

 

                Upon application of a party the court shall confirm the award unless within the time limits allowed grounds are urged for vacating or modifying the award.

 

 

1115. When court may vacate award

 

                A. Upon application of a party the court shall vacate an award where:

 

                1. The award was procured by corruption, fraud or other undue means;

                2. There was evident partiality by an arbitrator appointed as a neutral, or corruption of any of the arbitrators or misconduct prejudicing the rights of any party;

                3. The arbitrators exceeded their powers;

                4. The arbitrators refused to postpone the hearing upon sufficient cause being shown, or refused to hear evidence material to the controversy or otherwise conducted the hearing as to substantially prejudice the rights of a party;  or

                5. There was no arbitration agreement, the issue was not adversely determined by a court as provided by law and the applicant did not participate in the arbitration hearing without raising the objection.  The fact that the relief was such that it could not or would not be granted by a court of law or equity is not a ground for vacating or refusing to confirm the award.

 

                B. An application for vacating an award shall be made within 90 days after delivery of a copy of the award to the applicant, or if predicated upon corruption, fraud or other undue means it shall be made within 90 days after the grounds are known or should have been known.

 

                C. In vacating the award on grounds other than stated in Subsection (A)(5) the court may order a rehearing before new arbitrators chosen as provided in the agreement or by the court.  If the award is vacated on grounds set forth in Paragraph (A)(3) or (4) of this Section the court may order a rehearing before the arbitrators who made the award or their successors appointed.  The time within which the agreement requires the award to be made is applicable to the rehearing and commences from the date of the order.

 

                D. If the application to vacate is denied and no motion to modify or correct the award is pending, the court shall confirm the award.

 

 

1116. When court may modify or correct award

 

                A. Upon application made within 90 days after delivery of a copy of the award to the applicant, the court shall modify or correct the award where:

 

                1. There was an evident miscalculation of figures or an evident mistake in the description of any person or property referred to in the award;

                2. The arbitrators awarded upon a matter not submitted to them and the award may be corrected without affecting the merits of the decision upon the issues submitted;  or

                3. The award is imperfect in a matter of form, not affecting the merits of the controversy.

 

                B. If the application is granted, the court shall modify and correct the award as to intent and shall confirm the award as so modified and corrected.  Otherwise the court shall confirm the award as made.

 

                C. An application to modify or correct an award may be joined in the alternative with an application to vacate the award.

 

 

1117. Judgment upon granting order confirming, modifying or correcting award;  costs and disbursements

 

                Upon the granting of an order confirming, modifying or correcting an award, the judgment shall conform and be enforced as any other judgment.  Costs of the application, proceedings and disbursements may be awarded by the court.

 

 

1118. Application to court to be by motion;  notice and hearing to be in manner provided by law

 

                An application to the court for relief shall be by motion and shall be heard in the manner provided by law or rule of court.  Notice of an initial application for an order shall be served in the manner provided by law for the service of a summons in a civil action unless otherwise specified by the parties.

 

 

1119. Appeals

 

                An appeal to the Navajo Nation Supreme Court may be taken from:

 

                A. An order denying the application to compel arbitration;

 

                B. An order granting an application to stay arbitration;

 

                C. An order confirming or denying confirmation of an award;

 

                D. An order modifying or correcting an award;

 

                E. An order vacating an award without directing a rehearing;  or

 

                F. A final judgment or decree entered by the court.