RULE 4:3. Divisions; Venue; Transfer Of Actions

4:3-1. Divisions of Court; Commencement and Transfer of Actions

  • (a) Where Instituted.

    • (1) Chancery Division-General Equity. Actions in which the plaintiff's primary right or the principal relief sought is equitable in nature, except as otherwise provided by subparagraphs (2) and (3), shall be brought in the Chancery Division, General Equity, even though legal relief is demanded in addition or alternative to equitable relief.

    • (2) Chancery Division-Probate Part. All actions brought pursuant to R. 4:83 et seq.

    • (3) Chancery Division-Family Part. All civil actions in which the principal claim is unique to and arises out of a family or family-type relationship shall be brought in the Chancery Division, Family Part. Civil family actions cognizable in the Family Part shall include all actions and proceedings provided for in Part V of these rules; all civil actions and proceedings formerly cognizable in the juvenile and domestic relations court; and all other actions and proceedings unique to and arising out of a family or family-type relationship.

    • (4) Law Division. All actions in the Superior Court except those encompassed by subparagraphs (1), (2) and (3) hereof shall be brought in the Law Division or Law Division, Special Civil Part.

  • (b) Transfer Between Law and Chancery Division. A motion to transfer an action from one trial division of the Superior Court or part thereof to another, except those actions governed by Part VI of these rules, shall be made within 10 days after expiration of the time prescribed by R. 4:6-1 for the service of the last permissible responsive pleading or, if the action is brought pursuant to R. 4:67 (summary actions), on or before the return date if the action is pending in the Law Division. Unless so made, objections to the trial of the action in the division specified in the complaint are waived, but the court on its own motion may thereafter order such a transfer. Actions transferred shall not be retransferred. The order of transfer shall be filed in triplicate.

Note: Source-R.R. 4:41-2, 4:41-3, 5:1-2. Paragraphs (a) and (b) amended and caption amended July 22, 1983 to be effective September 12, 1983; new paragraph (a) adopted and paragraph (b) amended December 20, 1983 to be effective December 31, 1983; paragraphs (a) and (b) amended November 7, 1988 to be effective January 2, 1989; subparagraph (a)(1) amended, subparagraph (a)(2) recaptioned and adopted, former subparagraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3) redesignated (a)(3) and (a)(4) respectively, and subparagraph (a)(4) amended June 29, 1990 to be effective September 4, 1990.

4:3-2. Venue in the Superior Court

  • (a) Where Laid. Venue shall be laid by the plaintiff in Superior Court actions as follows: (1) actions affecting title to real property or a possessory or other interest therein, or for damages thereto, or appeals from assessments for improvements, in the county in which any affected property is situate; (2) actions not affecting real property which are brought by or against municipal corporations, counties, public agencies or officials, in the county in which the cause of action arose; (3) except as otherwise provided by R. 4:44A-1 (structured settlements), R. 4:53-2 (receivership actions), R. 4:60-2 (attachments), R. 5:2-1 (family actions), R. 4:83-4 (probate actions), and R. 6:1-3 (Special Civil Part actions), the venue in all other actions in the Superior Court shall be laid in the county in which the cause of action arose, or in which any party to the action resides at the time of its commencement, or in which the summons was served on a nonresident defendant; and (4) actions on and objections to certificates of debt for motor vehicle surcharges that have been docketed as judgments by the Superior Court Clerk pursuant to N.J.S.A. 17:29A-35 shall be brought in the county of residence of the judgment debtor.

  • (b) Corporate Parties. For purposes of this rule, a corporation shall be deemed to reside in the county in which its registered office is located or in any county in which it is actually doing business.

  • (c) Exceptions in Multicounty Vicinages. With the approval of the Chief Justice, the assignment judge of any multicounty vicinage may order that in lieu of laying venue in the county of the vicinage as provided by these rules, venue in any designated category of cases shall be laid in any single county within the vicinage.

Note: Source -- R.R. 4:3-2. Paragraph (a) amended December 20, 1983 to be effective December 31, 1983. Paragraph (c) adopted January 9, 1984 to be effective immediately; paragraph (a) amended November 7, 1988 to be effective January 2, 1989; paragraph (a) amended June 29, 1990 to be effective September 4, 1990; paragraph (a) amended June 28, 1996 to be effective September 1, 1996; paragraph (a) amended July 28, 2004 to be effective September 1, 2004.

4:3-3. Change of Venue in the Superior Court

  • (a) By Whom Ordered; Grounds. In actions in the Superior Court a change of venue may be ordered by the Assignment Judge or the designee of the Assignment Judge of the county in which venue is laid or by a judge of such county sitting in the Chancery Division, General Equity, or the presiding judge of the Family Part, or the designee of the Assignment Judge for the Special Civil Part, (1) if the venue is not laid in accordance with R. 4:3-2; or (2) if there is a substantial doubt that a fair and impartial trial can be had in the county where venue is laid; or (3) for the convenience of parties and witnesses in the interest of justice; or, (4) in Family Part post-judgment motions, if both parties reside outside the county of original venue and application is made to the court by either party to change venue to a county where one of the parties now resides.

  • (b) Time; Form of Order; Filing. A motion for a change of venue shall be made not later than 10 days after the expiration of the time prescribed by R. 4:6-1 for the service of the last permissible responsive pleading, or, if the action is brought pursuant to R. 4:67 (summary actions), on or before the return date. If not so made, objections to venue shall be deemed waived except that if the moving party relies on R. 4:3-3(a)(2) the motion may be made at any time before trial. The order changing venue shall not be incorporated in any other order and shall be filed in triplicate.  If a mediator has already been appointed, the party moving to change venue shall serve a copy of the motion on that person prior to the mediation date.  The moving party also shall promptly serve on the mediator a copy of the order entered on the motion.

  • (c) Ex Parte Orders. At any time prior to the filing and service of the first answer by any defendant to the complaint, plaintiff may apply ex parte for an order changing venue to any other county in which venue may be properly laid. The application shall be granted unless it appears that there is good cause for its denial. An order of denial shall state the reasons with specificity.

Note: Source-R.R. 4:3-3. Paragraph (a) amended December 20, 1983 to be effective December 31, 1983; paragraph (a) amended November 1, 1985 to be effective January 2, 1986; paragraph (a) amended and paragraph (c) adopted November 5, 1986 to be effective January 1, 1987; paragraph (a) amended November 7, 1988 to be effective January 2, 1989; paragraph (a) amended June 29, 1990 to be effective September 4, 1990; paragraph (b) amended July 9, 2008 to be effective September 1, 2008.

4:3-4. Transfer and Removal of Actions

An order of transfer pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (b) of this rule shall be filed with the clerk of the court transferring the action, who shall forthwith forward a certified copy thereof, together with the record and all other papers on file in the action, to the court to which it is transferred and shall pay over the fees, if any, provided by law.

  • (a) Transfer From Superior Court to Tax Court. The court in which an action is pending may order it transferred to the Tax Court provided that the principal issue or issues raised therein are cognizable in that court.

  • (b) Transfer From the Municipal Court to the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part. An action may be transferred from the municipal court to the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part pursuant to R. 5:1-2(c)(3) and R. 5:1-3(b)(2).

  • (c) Transfers between the Law Division and Law Division, Special Civil Part shall be governed by R. 6:4-1.

Note: Source-R.R. 4:3-4(a) (b), 5:2-3. Caption and the text of paragraph (a) amended, former paragraph (b) deleted, paragraph (c) amended and redesignated (b), new introductory material and paragraph (c) adopted June 29, 1979 to be effective July 1, 1979; former paragraphs (a) and (b) deleted, former paragraph (c) redesignated and new paragraph (b) adopted December 20, 1983 to be effective December 31, 1983; new paragraph (c) adopted November 7, 1988 to be effective January 2, 1989.
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