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Rule 269. Argument (Mar1941)


(a) After the evidence is concluded and the charge is read, the parties may argue the case to the jury. The party having the burden of proof on the whole case, or on all matters which are submitted by the charge, whether upon special issues or otherwise, shall be entitled to open and conclude the argument; where there are several parties having separate claims or defenses, the court shall prescribe the order of argument between them.

(b) In all arguments, and especially in arguments on the trial of the case, the counsel opening shall present his whole case as he relies on it, both of law and facts, and shall be heard in the concluding argument only in reply to the counsel on the other side.

(c) Counsel for an intervenor shall occupy the position in the argument assigned by the court according to tl1e nature of the claim.

(d) Arguments on questions of law shall be addressed to the court, and counsel should state the substance of the authorities referred to without reading more from books than may be necessary to verify the statement. On a question on motions, exceptions to the evidence, and other incidental matters the counsel will be allowed only such argument as may be necessary to present clearly the question raised, and refer to authorities on it, unless further discussion is invited by the court.

(e) Arguments on the facts should be addressed to the jury, when one is impaneled in a case that is being tried, under the super­vision of the court. Counsel shall be required to confine the argument strictly to the evidence and to the arguments of opposing counsel. Mere personal criticism by counsel upon each other shall be avoided, and when indulged in shall be promptly corrected as a contempt of court.

(f) Side-bar remarks, and remarks by counsel of one side, not addressed to the court, while the counsel on the other side is examining a witness or arguing any question to the court, or addressing the jury, will be rigidly repressed by the court.

(g) The court will not be required to wait for objections to be made when the rules as to arguments are violated; but should they not be noticed and corrected by the court, opposing counsel may ask leave of the court to rise and present his point of objection. But the court shall protect counsel from any unnecessary interruption made on frivolous and unimportant grounds.

(h) It shall be the duty of every counsel to address the court from his place at the bar, and in addressing the court to rise to his feet; and while engaged in the trial of a case, he shall remain at his place in the bar.

Amended by order of March 31, 1941, eff. Sept. 1, 1941: Source of Subdivisions (b) through (h); Texas Rules 36 through 42 (for District and County Courts).

Prior Amendments Future Amendments
Oct. 29, 1940, eff. Sept. 1, 1941 April 24, 1990, eff. Sept. 1, 1990


Question: In what instances is the de­fendant entitled to the opening and clos­ing argument?

Answer: This question is answered by Rules 266 and 269. These rules provide that the plaintiff shall have the right to open and close the argument, except (1) where the burden of proof on the whole case under the pleading rests upon the defendant, or (2) where the defendant has the burden of proof on all matters which are submitted by the Court's Charge to the jury, or (3) where the defendant, before the trial commences; files and en­ters upon the record a written admission that the plaintiff is entitled to recover as set forth in the Petition except insofar as he may be defeated in. whole or in part by the allegations of the Answer con­stituting a ground of defense upon which the defendant has the burden of proof.

5 Tex. B.J. 95 (1942) reprinted in 8 Tex. B.J. 8 (1945).