Miss. R. Civ. P. 57

As amended through March 21, 2024
Rule 57 - Declaratory Judgments
(a) Procedure. Courts of record within their respective jurisdictions may declare rights, status, and other legal relations regardless of whether further relief is or could be claimed. The court may refuse to render or enter a declaratory judgment where such judgment, if entered, would not terminate the uncertainty or controversy giving rise to the proceeding.

The procedure for obtaining a declaratory judgment shall be in accordance with these rules, and the right to trial by jury may be demanded under the circumstances and in the manner provided in Rules 38 and 39. The existence of another adequate remedy does not preclude a judgment for declaratory relief in actions where it is appropriate.

The court may order a speedy hearing of an action for declaratory judgment and may advance it on the calendar. The judgment in a declaratory relief action may be either affirmative or negative in form and effect.

(b) When Available.
(1) Any person interested under a deed, will, written contract, or other writings constituting a contract, or whose rights, status, or other legal relations are affected by a statute, municipal ordinance, contract or franchise, may have determined any question of construction or validity arising under the instrument, statute, ordinance, contract, or franchise, and obtain a declaration of rights, status or other legal relations thereunder.
(2) A contract may be construed either before or after there has been a breach thereof. Where an insurer has denied or indicated that it may deny that a contract covers a party's claim against an insured, that party may seek a declaratory judgment construing the contract to cover the claim.
(3) Any person interested as or through an executor, administrator, trustee guardian or other fiduciary, creditor, devisee, legatee, heir, next of kin, or cestui que trust in the administration of a trust, or of the estate of a decedent, an infant, insolvent, or person under a legal disability, may have a declaration of rights or legal relations in respect thereto:
(A) to ascertain any class of creditors, devisees, legatees, heirs, next of kin or others; or,
(B) to direct the executors, administrators, or trustees, to do or abstain from doing any particular act in their judiciary capacity; or,
(C) to determine any question arising in the administration of the estate or trust, including questions of construction of wills and other writings.
(4) The enumeration in subdivisions (1), (2) and (3) of this rule does not limit or restrict the exercise of the general powers stated in paragraph (a) in any proceeding where declaratory relief is sought in which a judgment will terminate the controversy or remove an uncertainty.

Miss. R. Civ. P. 57

Amended effective 7/27/2000.

Advisory Committee Notes

A plaintiff may ask for a declaratory judgment either as sole relief or in addition or auxiliary to other relief, and a defendant may similarly counterclaim therefor. Thus the court is not limited only to remedial relief for acts already committed or losses already incurred; it may either substitute or add preventive and declaratory relief. It may be sought upon either legal or equitable claims and the right to jury trial is fully preserved as in civil actions generally.

Absent extraordinary circumstances, the failure to order separate trials in order to avoid putting the issue of insurance before the jury which tries liability and damages as between the insured and the injured party will be deemed an abuse of discretion.