Rule 102 – Purpose

These rules should be construed so as to administer every proceeding fairly, eliminate unjustifiable expense and delay, and promote the development of evidence law, to the end of ascertaining the truth and securing a just determination.

Summary and Explanation

Federal Rule of Evidence 102 is a fundamental rule that sets the framework for the interpretation and application of all the rules of evidence in federal court proceedings. It essentially provides guidance on the proper construction and understanding of these rules.

Rule 102 states that the rules of evidence should be construed to secure fairness in the administration of justice, promote the growth and development of the law of evidence, and ensure consistency in their application. It emphasizes that the rules should be interpreted to avoid unintended restrictions on the introduction of evidence or the development of legal principles.

In practice, Rule 102 reminds judges, attorneys, and parties involved in federal court cases that the primary goal of the rules of evidence is to promote fairness and justice. It encourages a balanced and flexible approach to evidence, allowing for the admission of relevant and reliable information while protecting against prejudicial or unreliable evidence. Ultimately, Rule 102 serves as a guiding principle to ensure that the rules of evidence are applied in a manner that serves the interests of justice and the sound development of legal principles.


(Pub.L. 93-595, § 1, Jan. 2, 1975, 88 Stat.1929; Apr. 26, 2011, eff. Dec. 1, 2011.)

Notes of Advisory Committee on Proposed Rules

For similar provisions see Rule 2 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, California Evidence Code §2, and New Jersey Evidence Rule 5.

Committee Notes on Rules—2000 Amendment

The language of Rule 102 has been amended as part of the restyling of the Evidence Rules to make them more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. These changes are intended to be stylistic only. There is no intent to change any result in any ruling on evidence admissibility.

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