84(R) - 2015
Senate State Affairs
Senate State Affairs
Relating to the appointment of attorneys ad litem, guardians ad litem, and mediators.
A fiscal note dated April 24, 2015 anticipates no significant implication to the State or units of local government.
Senate Bill 1876 would amend the Government Code to create a Chapter on appointments of attorneys ad litem, guardians ad litem, mediators, and guardians.
Each court would have to provide a list of all attorneys qualified and registered with the court to serve as attorney ad litem, attorneys and other persons qualified and registered to serve as guardian ad litem, persons registered to serve as mediators, and persons who are qualified and registered to serve as a guardian according to Section 1002.012 of the Estates Code.
Lists could be maintained according to the type of case and the persons' qualifications. A local administrative judge would be allowed to maintain one set of lists for more than one court.
When an appointment for an attorney or guardian ad litem, a guardian or a mediator would be necessary, a court would have to take the first name on the appropriate list, rotating the names after each appointment. Another person could be chosen in such a case only if all parties agree. A particular person may also be chosen because the person's qualifications are required for a particular case.
Courts would have to post each list annually at the courthouse of the county in which the court is located and on the Internet website of the court.
A local administrative judge for statutory probate courts in a county would have to make sure all statutory probable courts in the county comply with this newly created chapter.
Senate Bill 1876 would also provide for exemptions.
Vote Recommendation Notes
Minor changes were made to this bill that do not affect our vote recommendation. The second chamber sponsor is Representative Smithee.
First chamber analysis:
Senate Bill 1876 would establish the systematic practice of rotating lists for the appointment of attorneys and guardians ad litem, guardians, and mediators.
These persons are generally appointed by a court to act on the behalf of another party in a lawsuit. The practice of rotating list aims at countering the possible practice of collusion between judges and certain persons among those qualified and registered to be attorney or guardian ad litem, guardian, or mediator, with a judge picking and choosing the same person for unethical reasons.
In cases when particular qualifications would be required, judges could still choose one particular person in the list, instead of the first one on the list.
Senate Bill 1876 would encourage the honest practice of appointing attorneys and guardians ad litem, guardians, and mediators and prevent dishonest collusion. As a consequence, we support Senate Bill 1876.