Limited Assistance Representation
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SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
SUFFOLK, SS. SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT
IN RE: LIMITED ASSISTANCE REPRESENTATION
Limited Assistance Representation permits attorneys to assist a self
represented litigant on a limited basis without undertaking a full
representation of the client on all issues related to the legal matter for which
the attorney is engaged. After the completion and assessment of a Limited
Assistance Representation Pilot Project in the Hampden, Suffolk, and Norfolk
Divisions of the Probate and Family Court Department pursuant to a Standing
Order dated August 1, 2006, as amended from time to time, the Justices have
concluded that limited assistance representation can be of significant benefit
in expanding access to justice in the Trial Courts, and should be available in
such Divisions and in connection with such matters as each Trial Court
Department Chief Justice, in his or her discretion and with the approval of the
Chief Justice for Administration and Management, may prescribe.
Limited Assistance Representation may be implemented in any Department of the
Trial Court in such Divisions and in connection with such matters as each Trial
Court Department Chief Justice, in his or her discretion and with the approval
of the Chief Justice for Administration and Management, may prescribe.
Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in any Rule of Court or Standing
Order, it is hereby ORDERED that the following procedures shall apply with
respect to Limited Assistance Representation.
1. Limited Assistance Representation.
A qualified attorney may limit the
scope of his or her representation of a client if the limitation is reasonable
under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent. An attorney shall
not be deemed a "qualified attorney" unless he or she completes an information
session on Limited Assistance Representation approved by the Chief Justice of
the Trial Court Department in which the attorney seeks to represent a client on
a limited basis.
2. Limited Appearance.
An attorney making a limited appearance on behalf of an otherwise unrepresented
party shall file a Notice of Limited Appearance in the form attached to this
Order. The Notice shall state precisely the court event to which the limited
appearance pertains, and, if the appearance does not extend to all issues to be
considered at the event, the Notice shall identify the discrete issues within
the event covered by the appearance. An attorney may not enter a limited
appearance for the sole purpose of making evidentiary objections. Nor shall a
limited appearance allow both an attorney and a litigant to argue on the same
legal issue during the period of the limited appearance. An attorney may file a
Notice of Limited Appearance for more than one court event in a case. At any
time, including during an event, an attorney may file a new Notice of Limited
Appearance with the
agreement of the client.
A pleading, motion or other
document filed by an attorney making a limited appearance shall comply with Rule
11(a), Mass. R.Civ.P., and/or cognate Departmental Rules, and shall state in
bold type on the signature page of the document: "Attorney of [party] for the
limited purpose of [court event]." An attorney filing a pleading, motion or
other document outside the scope of the limited appearance shall be deemed to
have entered a
general appearance, unless the attorney files a new Notice of Limited Appearance
with the pleading, motion or other document.
Upon the completion of the representation within the scope of a limited
appearance, an attorney shall withdraw by filing a Notice of Withdrawal of
Limited Appearance in the form attached to this Order, which notice shall
include the client's name, address and telephone number, unless otherwise
provided by law. The attorney must file a Notice of Withdrawal of Limited
Appearance for each court event for which the attorney has filed a
Notice of Limited Appearance. The court may impose sanctions for failure to file
Whenever service is required or permitted to be made upon a party represented by
an attorney making a limited appearance, for all matters within the scope of the
limited appearance, the service shall be made upon both the attorney and the
party. Service upon a party shall be at the address listed for the party in the
Notice of Limited Appearance. If the party's address has been impounded by court
order or rule, service of process on the party shall be made in accordance with
the court order or rule. Service upon an attorney making a limited appearance
shall not be required for matters outside the scope of the limited appearance.
4. Assistance in the preparation of documents.
An attorney may assist a client in preparing a pleading, motion or other
document to be signed and filed in court by the client, a practice sometimes
referred to as "ghostwriting." In such cases, the attorney shall insert the
notation "prepared with assistance of counsel" on any pleading, motion or other
document prepared by the attorney. The attorney is not required to sign the
pleading, motion or document, and the filing of such pleading,
motion or document shall not constitute an appearance by the attorney.
MARGARET H. MARSHALL
RODERICK L. IRELAND
FRANCIS X. SPINA
JUDITH A. COWIN
ROBERT J. CORDY
RALPH D. GANTS
Effective Date: May 1, 2009
Dated: April 10, 2009