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2020 California Rules of Court

Rule 7.1101. Scope, definitions, and general qualifications

(a) Scope (Prob. Code, §§ 1456, 1470-1471)

The rules in this chapter establish minimum qualifications, annual education requirements, and certification requirements that an attorney must meet as conditions of court appointment as counsel under Probate Code section 1470 or 1471 in a proceeding under division 4 of that code.

(1)  The rules in this chapter apply to an appointed attorney regardless of whether the attorney is a sole practitioner or works for a private law firm, a legal services organization, or a public defender's office.

(2)  The rules in this chapter do not apply to:

(A)  Retained counsel;

(B)  Counsel appointed under the authority of any law other than Probate Code section 1470 or 1471.

(b) Definitions

For purposes of this chapter, the following terms are used as defined below:

(1)  "Appointed counsel" or "appointed attorney" means an attorney appointed by the court under Probate Code section 1470 or 1471 who assumes direct personal responsibility for representing a ward or proposed ward, a conservatee or proposed conservatee, or a person alleged to lack legal capacity in a proceeding under division 4 of the Probate Code.

(2)  "Probate guardianship" means any proceeding related to a general or temporary guardianship under division 4 of the Probate Code.

(3)  "Probate conservatorship" means any proceeding related to a conservatorship or limited conservatorship, general or temporary, under division 4 of the Probate Code.

(4)  "LPS Act" refers to the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 5000-5556), which provides for involuntary mental health treatment and conservatorship for persons who are gravely disabled as the result of a mental health disorder.

(5)  A "contested matter" is a matter that requires a noticed hearing and in which an objection is filed in writing or made orally in open court by any person entitled to appear at the hearing and support or oppose the petition.

(6)  "Trial" means the determination of one or more disputed issues of fact by means of an evidentiary hearing.

(c) General qualifications

To qualify for any appointment under Probate Code section 1470 or 1471, an attorney must:

(1)  Be an active member in good standing of the State Bar of California or a registered legal aid attorney qualified to practice law in California under rule 9.45;

(2)  Have had no professional discipline imposed in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of submitting any initial or annual certification of compliance; and

(3)  Have demonstrated to the court that the attorney or the attorney's firm or employer:

(A)  Is covered by professional liability insurance with coverage limits no less than $100,000 per claim and $300,000 per year; or

(B)  Is covered for professional liability at an equivalent level through a self-insurance program;

(4)  Have met the applicable qualifications and annual education requirements in this chapter and have a current certification on file with the appointing court; and

(5)  Have satisfied any additional requirements established by local rule.

(d) Local rules

The rules in this chapter establish minimum qualifications and requirements. Nothing in this chapter prohibits a court from establishing, by local rule adopted under rule 10.613, additional or more rigorous qualifications or requirements.

(e) Retroactivity

The amendments to this chapter adopted effective January 1, 2020, are not retroactive. They do not require an attorney who submitted an initial certification of qualifications under this chapter as it read on or before December 31, 2019, to submit a new initial certification.

Rule 7.1101 adopted effective January 1, 2020.

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