Rule 51. Instructions to jury.

(a)        Judge to explain law but give no opinion on facts. - In charging the jury in any action governed by these rules, a judge shall not give an opinion as to whether or not a fact is fully or sufficiently proved and shall not be required to state, summarize or recapitulate the evidence, or to explain the application of the law to the evidence. If the judge undertakes to state the contentions of the parties, he shall give equal stress to the contentions of each party.

(b)        Requests for special instructions. - Requests for special instructions must be in writing, entitled in the cause, and signed by the counsel or party submitting them. Such requests for special instructions must be submitted to the judge before the judge's charge to the jury is begun. The judge may, in his discretion, consider such requests regardless of the time they are made. Written requests for special instructions shall, after their submission to the judge, be filed with the clerk as a part of the record.

(c)        Judge not to comment on verdict. - The judge shall make no comment on any verdict in open court in the presence or hearing of any member of the jury panel; and if any judge shall make any comment as herein prohibited or shall praise or criticize any jury on account of its verdict, whether such praise, criticism or comment be made inadvertently or intentionally, such praise, criticism or comment by the judge shall for any party to any other action remaining to be tried constitute valid grounds as a matter of right for a continuance of any action to a time when all members of the jury panel are no longer serving. The provisions of this section shall not be applicable upon the hearing of motions for a new trial or for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. (1967, c. 954, s. 1; 1985, c. 537, s. 2.)