A court is not required to make an appointment from the required list for: 1) “a mediation conducted by
an alternative dispute resolution system established under Ch. 152, Civil Practices and Remedies Code,”
2) the appointment of “a guardian ad litem or other person appointed under a program authorized by Sec.
107.031 of the Family Code (CASA appointment), 3) the appointment of an attorney ad litem, guardian ad
litem, amicus attorney, or mediator appointed under a domestic relations office established under Chapter
203, Family Code, or 4) “a person other than an attorney or a private professional guardian appointed to
serve as a guardian as defined by Sec. 1002.012, Estates Code.
Courts are permitted to appoint persons who are not next on the list or who are not on the list but meet the
statutory or other requirements necessary for the appointment in two instances. The first is when the parties
have agreed on the person and the court approves of the appointment.
The other is on a finding of good
cause, if the appointment is required on a complex matter, because the person has “relevant specialized
education, training, certification, skill, language proficiency or knowledge of the subject matter,” “has relevant
prior involvement with the parties,” or “is in a relevant geographic location.”
Senate Bill 1876 also requires an LAJ to ensure that appointments made by the courts in the county are
made from the lists as required by Sec. 37.003.
It also requires the presiding judge of the probate courts to
require that the LAJs for statutory probate courts in a county ensure that the statutory probate courts in the
county comply with Chapter 37.
Posting the Lists
The lists maintained by the courts are required to
be posted annually “at the courthouse of the county
in which the court is located and on any Internet
website of the court.”
Under the plain reading of
the statute, a court does not appear to have a duty
to update its lists as names are added; however, it is
probably a best practice to do so. If a court is known
to post general information for the attorneys who
practice regularly before them, the lists should be
posted there. Another possible location is the place
where the district clerk posts the lists of attorneys
who are qualified for appointment to represent
indigent defendants in capital cases in which the
death penalty is sought.
SB 1876 also requires that the lists be posted on
“any Internet website of the court.” If courts do not
maintain their own websites, they should coordinate
with the person in the county who maintains the
sites for the courts and request that the lists be
posted there. If there is no Internet website for the
courts in the county, SB 1876 does not require that
one be created solely for the purpose of posting the
Reconciling HB 3003 (new offices of child and parent representation and managed
assigned counsel programs for certain children and parents) and SB 1876
Legislature also passedHouse Bill 3003
that provides a process for local governments to establish
offices for the representation of children and indigent parents involved in suits seeking conservatorship of
the child or the termination of parental rights by the Department of Family and Protective Services.