HOUSE BILL NO. 147
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 65, PART IV, TITLE 10 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO COURTS AND JUDICAL PRECEDURE; AND PROVIDING FOR A UNIFORM DECLARATORY JUDGMENTS ACT.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Chapter 85, Part IV, Title 10 of the Delaware Code by striking said chapter in its entirety, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"CHAPTER 85. DECLARATORY JUDGMENTS
Except where the Constitution of this State provides otherwise, courts of record within their respective jurisdictions shall have power to declare rights, status, and other legal relations whether or not further relief is or could be claimed. No action or proceeding shall be open to objection on the ground that a declaratory judgment or decree is prayed for. The declaration may be either affirmative or negative in form and effect; and such declaration shall have the force and effect of a final judgment or decree.
§6502. Power to Construe
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.
§6503. Before Breach
A contract may be construed either before or after there has been a breach thereof.
Any person interested as or through an executor, administrator, trustee, guardian or fidiciary, creditor, devisee, legatee, heir, next-of-kin, or cestui due trust, in the adminstration of a trust, or of the estate of a decedent, an infant, a person mentallill, or insolvent, 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 fidiciary 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.
§6505. Enumeration Not Exclusive
The enumeration in §8502, §6503 and §6504 does not limit nor restrict the exercise of the general powers conferred in §8501, in any proceeding where declaratory relief is sought, in which a judgment or decree will terminate the controversy or remove on uncertainty.
The Court may refuse to render or enter a declaratory judgment or decree where such judgment or decree, if rendered or entered, will not terminate the uncertainty or controversy giving rise to the proceeding.
All orders, judgments and decrees under this chapter may be reviewed as other orders, judgments and decrees.
§6508. Supplementary Relief
Further relief based on a declaratory judgment or decree may be granted whenever necessary or proper. The application therefor shall be by petition to a court having Jurisdiction to grant the relief. If the application be deemed sufficient, the court shall, on reasonable notice, require any adverse party whose rights have been adjudicated by the declaratory judgment or decree, to show cause why further relief should not be granted forthwith.
§6509. Jury Trial
When a proceeding under this chapter involves the determination of an issue of fact, such issue may be tried and determined in the same manner as issues of fact are tried and determined in other civil actions in the court in which the proceeding is pending.
In any proceeding under this chapter the court may make such award of costs as may seem equitable and Just.
When declaratory relief is sought, all persons shall be made parties who have or claim any interest which would be affected by the declaration, and no declaration shall prejudice the rights of persons not parties to the proceeding. In any proceeding which involves the validity of a municipal ordinance or franchise, such municipality shall be made a party, and shall be entitled to be heard, and if the statute, ordinance or franchise is alleged unconstitutional, the Attorney-General of the State shall also be served with a copy of the proceeding and be entitled to be heard.
This chapter is declared to be remedial; its purpose is to settle and to afford relief from uncertainty and insecurity with respect to rights, status and other legal relations; and is to be liberally construed and administered.
§6513. Words Construed
The word "person" wherever used in this chapter, shall be construed to mean any person, partnership, Joint stock company, unincorporated association or society, or municipal or other corporation of any character whatsoever."
Section 2. The several Delaware Code sections and provisions herein, except §6501 and §6562, are hereby declared independent and severable, and the invalidity, if any, of any part or feature thereof shall not affect or render the remainer of the Act invalid or inoperative.
Section 3. This Act shall be so interpreted and construed as to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law of those states which enact it, and to harmonize, as far as possible, with federal laws and regulations on the subject of declaratory Judgments and decrees.
Section 4. This Act may be cited as the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act.
Approved June 30, 1981.