Updated Edition of Benchbook Now Available | United States Courts

The 6th edition (pdf) of the Benchbook for U.S. District Court Judges, a publication of the Federal Judicial Center, is now available online. The book, last updated in 2007, is a concise and practical guide to situations federal judges are likely to encounter on the bench. TheBenchbook covers procedures that are required by statute, rule or case law, with detailed guidance from experienced trial judges. And although new judges may benefit the most from the Benchbook, even experienced judges may find useful reminders about how to deal with routine matters, suggestions for handling more complex issues, and helpful starting points in new situations.


The 6th Edition includes a primer on a prosecutor’s duty to disclose favorable information to defendants under Brady v. Maryland. There’s a new section on civil pretrial case management focusing on the judge’s role as an active case manager, and a completely revised section on sentencing, which contains an extensive colloquy for the sentencing hearing. There also are subsections on handling disruptive or dangerous defendants, and expanded jury instructions on the use of social media. Due to budgetary constraints, this edition of the Benchbook is published in electronic format only.

  • Download the 6th edition (pdf) of the Benchbook for U.S. District Court Judges.

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