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Administrative Rules of the Unified Court System & Uniform Rules of the Trial Courts


Rules of the Chief Judge


PART 7. Law Guardians
7.1 Law Guardians
7.2 Function of the attorney for the child

Section 7.1 Standards to regulate designation of lawyers who may be appointed law guardians to represent minors in Family Court proceedings.

(a) Each of the Appellate Divisions shall by January 1, 1980 promulgate rules pertaining to the establishment and operation of a panel of lawyers qualified for assignment as law guardians to represent minors in proceedings in Family Court.

(b) The panel plan, which consists of the rules so promulgated, may provide for the creation of a departmental advisory committee, whose membership may be representative of the bar associations, law school faculties and the lay public, among others.

(c) The panel plan shall contain standards and administrative procedures for continuing evaluation of the panel plan and panel lawyers.

(d) The panel plan shall set forth standards for appointment to the panel, which may include litigation experience in matters within the jurisdiction of the Family Court, participation in a panel plan training program, or other qualifying criteria.

(e) The panel plan shall set forth standards for removal from the panel and provide a removal process or mechanism.

(f) The panel plan shall provide for a continuing program of training and education for members of the panel.

(g) Annual reports on the operation of the panels, for each calendar year, shall be filed by the Appellate Divisions with the Chief Administrator of the Courts, no later than July 1st of the next succeeding calendar year.

Historical Note
Sec. filed July 17, 1981; renum. 104.1, new added by renum. and amd. 20.5, filed Feb. 2, 1982; amd. filed Nov. 15, 1984 eff. Oct. 18, 1984. Amended (g).

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§7.2 Function of the attorney for the child.

(a) As used in this part, "attorney for the child" means a law guardian appointed by the family court pursuant to section 249 of the Family Court Act, or by the supreme court or a surrogate's court in a proceeding over which the family court might have exercised jurisdiction had such action or proceeding been commenced in family court or referred thereto.

(b) The attorney for the child is subject to the ethical requirements applicable to all lawyers, including but not limited to constraints on: ex parte communication; disclosure of client confidences and attorney work product; conflicts of interest; and becoming a witness in the litigation.

(c) In juvenile delinquency and person in need of supervision proceedings, where the child is the respondent, the attorney for the child must zealously defend the child.

(d) In other types of proceedings, where the child is the subject, the attorney for the child must zealously advocate the child's position.

(1) In ascertaining the child's position, the attorney for the child must consult with and advise the child to the extent of and in a manner consistent with the child's capacities, and have a thorough knowledge of the child's circumstances.

(2) If the child is capable of knowing, voluntary and considered judgment, the attorney for the child should be directed by the wishes of the child, even if the attorney for the child believes that what the child wants is not in the child's best interests. The attorney should explain fully the options available to the child, and may recommend to the child a course of action that in the attorney's view would best promote the child's interests.

(3) When the attorney for the child is convinced either that the child lacks the capacity for knowing, voluntary and considered judgment, or that following the child's wishes is likely to result in a substantial risk of imminent, serious harm to the child, the attorney for the child would be justified in advocating a position that is contrary to the child's wishes. In these circumstances, the attorney for the child must inform the court of the child's articulated wishes if the child wants the attorney to do so, notwithstanding the attorney's position.

Historical Note:
Added section 7.2 Oct. 17, 2007 [previous version]

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