The court has five weeks of regularly scheduled oral arguments each year – a week in January, a week in March, a week in May, a week in September, and a week in November. Arguments are almost always conducted in Denver. Our courthouse has four different courtrooms that are often in simultaneous use.
The oral argument schedule is on our website. The identity of the judges on the panel assigned to hear a case is posted the week before the argument is scheduled. Occasionally, the court will conduct a special session off the regular oral argument calendar.
If your case is scheduled for oral argument, you will be notified in writing about two months in advance of the scheduled date. You will be instructed to appear at the courthouse early for check-in at the clerk’s office. Please be on time. You must bring photo identification to get through security. You may use a laptop in lieu of notes to argue, but you will be delayed in getting through security. Absolutely no recording devices (picture or audio) may be used in the courtroom.
Both sides are usually allotted 15 minutes within which to argue and answer the court’s questions. Occasionally, an attorney asks about using a visual aid during argument, a practice the court discourages. If you nevertheless feel you must bring an exhibit, file a motion asking permission well in advance of the argument.
The panels on which the judges sit change each session so rescheduling is very difficult. If you were planning on arguing a case but for some reason cannot, the best option is to arrange for someone else in your office to do it. If you must ask for rescheduling (i.e., solo practitioner with a pre-planned vacation or medical emergency), be advised that the court may elect to cancel the oral argument and decide the case on the briefs rather than reschedule the argument.
Maps and other logistical information regarding the Denver courthouse are available on our website.