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Federal Practice & Procedure

About Civil Jury Instructions

"Some sets of pattern instructions are available for the courts in individual federal circuits, but there is no general set of officially approved jury instructions for the federal courts." Kent C. Olsen, et al., Principles of Legal Research § 14.2(c) (3rd ed. 2020).

The Third, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits have pattern civil jury instructions available on their websites. Jenkins also has these instructions in print.

Two commercial publications, Federal Jury Practice and Instructions (West/Thomson Reuters) and Modern Federal Jury Practice (LexisNexis), include the available circuit court pattern civil jury instructions as well as general and subject specific sample jury instructions. Other federal practice materials may have helpful tips for using jury instructions, even if they do not include the instructions themselves.

See below for more information on how to access federal civil jury instructions as well as other federal jury practice materials.

Finding Civil Jury Instructions

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals makes its jury instructions available on its website: Model Civil Jury Instructions. All instructions are available in PDF and Word formats.

The instructions are also available on the library's Lexis (via Modern Federal Jury Instructions) and Westlaw (via Federal Jury Practice & Instruction) computers as well as in print. See the other tabs on this page for more details.

Select federal jurisdictions have developed model civil jury instructions. The most up-to-date instructions are available on the courts' websites. See below for more details.

Model Jury Instructions U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Third Circuit
Includes civil and criminal.

Federal Jury Instructions U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
Includes civil and criminal.

Pattern Jury Instructions U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
Includes civil and criminal.

Model Jury Instructions Builder U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Includes civil and criminal.

Manual of Model Civil Jury Instructions U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Criminal instructions also available.

Pattern Jury Instructions U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
Includes civil and criminal.

The following member database includes access to model civil jury instructions. Members must be logged in to jenkinslaw.org to access this database. This database is also available in the library.

Modern Federal Jury Instructions
Available on the LexisNexis Digital Library. See "Civil" (vols. 4-5, Diamond, and Double Diamond). Pattern instructions for the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th Circuits are found in the Diamond and Double Diamond volumes.
Also on the library's Lexis computers and in print.

When available, Jenkins retains print copies of federal jury instructions. Instructions may also be reprinted in additional resources. Select resources may be available on the library's Lexis and Westlaw computers. See below for additional information.

Circuit Civil Pattern Jury Instructions
Library has civil pattern jury instructions for the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th circuits. Check the courts' websites for possible updates.

Federal Jury Practice and Instructions: Civil and Criminal West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers Civil Companion Handbook also available. Includes pattern instructions for the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th Circuits.
Also referred to as O'Malley's. Prior editions referred to as Devitt and Blackmar. Library also has previous editions: see all.

Modern Federal Jury Instructions LexisNexis
Also on the library's Lexis computers and on the LexisNexis Digital Library. Pattern instructions for the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th Circuits are found in the Diamond and Double Diamond volumes.

Treatises and Practice Aids about Jury Instructions

The following member database includes information related to federal civil jury instructions. Members must be logged in to jenkinslaw.org to access this database. This database is also available in the library.

Some of the following resources may include sample jury instructions. Others will have helpful tips regarding jury instructions.

The chapters/sections listed below are included as a starting place for that resource. Additional chapters/sections may apply. Consult the index or conduct a search in the resource to find additional material.

Bender's Federal Practice Forms LexisNexis
Available on the LexisNexis Digital Library.
See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 51: Instructions to the Jury; Objections; Preserving a Claim of Error (vol. 9).
Also available in print.

Manual of Federal Practice: Forms LexisNexis
Available on the LexisNexis Digital Library.
See Chapter 7, Part 7: Procedures Connected with Jury Trial. Includes select jury instructions (vol. 3).
Also available in print.

Moore's Manual: Federal Practice Forms LexisNexis
Available on the LexisNexis Digital Library.
See Part VI, Chapter 22, Part E: Instructions; Rule 51 (vol. 6A).
Also available in print.

Some of the following resources may include sample jury instructions. Others will have helpful tips regarding jury instructions.

The chapters/sections listed below are included as a starting place for that resource. Additional chapters/sections may apply. Consult the index or conduct a search in the resource to find additional material.

Treatises on federal civil or criminal practice may include additional information. Search the Jenkins' catalog or Ask Us for more suggestions.

Bender's Federal Practice Forms LexisNexis
Also on the LexisNexis Digital Library.
See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 51: Instructions to the Jury; Objections; Preserving a Claim of Error.

Federal Practice and Procedure West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Chapter 7, Rule 51: Instructions to the Jury.
Also referred to as Wright & Miller. Library has previous editions: see all.

Federal Procedural Forms West/Thomson Reuters
Available on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Chapter 1D, Part I, Subpart B, Sub-subpart 6: Instructions to Jury. Includes select jury instructions.

Federal Procedure, Lawyer's Edition West/Thomson Reuters
Available on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Chapter 77, Part XIV: Jury Instructions.

Manual of Federal Practice: Forms LexisNexis
Also on the LexisNexis Digital Library.
See Chapter 7, Part 7: Procedures Connected with Jury Trial. Includes select jury instructions.

Moore's Federal Practice LexisNexis
Also on the library's Lexis computers.
See Civil, Chapter 51: Instructions to the Jury; Objections; Preserving a Claim of Error.
Library has previous edition and selected pamphlets: see all.

Moore's Manual: Federal Practice Forms LexisNexis
Also on the LexisNexis Digital Library.
See Part VI, Chapter 22, Part E: Instructions; Rule 51.

Nichols Cyclopedia of Federal Procedure Forms West/Thomson Reuters
Available on the library's Westlaw computers.
See Part I, Subpart H, Chapter 59: Instructions to Jury. Includes select jury instructions.

West's Federal Forms West/Thomson Reuters
Also on the library's Westlaw computers.
See District Courts, Civil, Chapter 34: Jury Instructions. Includes select jury instructions.

Court Rules

Court rules often outline the procedures surrounding jury instructions. Federal Court Rules are available for free online from the United States Courts website. The following rule focuses on jury instruction in federal civil procedure. Please note that additional rules may also apply.

Civil Rules:

Fed.R.Civ.P. Rule 51: Instructions to the Jury; Objections; Preserving a Claim of Error

Federal Court Rules are available for free online from the United States Courts website. For additional places to find Federal Court Rules, including in print and on the library's Lexis, Westlaw, and Bloomberg Law computers, see the Federal Court Rules guide.