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Rule 173.4. Role of Guardian ad Litem (2005)
(a) Court Officer and Advisor. A guardian ad litem acts as an officer and advisor to the court.
(b) Determination of Adverse Interest. A guardian ad litem must determine and advise the court whether a party's next friend or guardian has an interest adverse to the party.
(c) When Settlement Proposed. When an offer has been made to settle the claim of a party represented by a next friend or guardian, a guardian ad litem has the limited duty to determine and advise the court whether the settlement is in the party's best interest.
(d) Participation in Litigation Limited. A guardian ad litem:
(1) may participate in mediation or a similar proceeding to attempt to reach a settlement;
(2) must participate in any proceeding before the court whose purpose is to determine whether a party's next friend or guardian has an interest adverse to the party, or whether a settlement of the party's claim is in the party's best interest;
(3) must not participate in discovery, trial, or any other part of the litigation unless:(A) further participation is necessary to protect the party's interest that is adverse to the next friend's or guardian's, and
(B) the participation is directed by the court in a written order stating sufficient reasons.
Amended by order of Jan. 27, 2005, eff. Feb. 1, 2005.
|Prior Amendments||Future Amendments|
|Oct. 29, 1940, eff. Sept. 1, 1941|
|June 16, 1943, eff. Dec. 31, 1943|
1. The rule is completely revised.
2. This rule does not apply when the procedures and purposes for appointment of guardians ad litem (as well as attorneys ad litem) are prescribed by statutes, such as the Family Code and the Probate Code, or by other rules, such as the Parental Notification Rules.
3. The rule contemplates that a guardian ad litem will be appointed when a party's next friend or guardian appears to have an interest adverse to the party because of the division of settlement proceeds. In those situations, the responsibility of the guardian ad litem as prescribed by the rule is very limited, and no reason exists for the guardian ad litem to participate in the conduct of the litigation in any other way or to review the discovery or the litigation file except to the limited extent that it may bear on the division of settlement proceeds. See Jocson v. Crabb. 133 S.W.3d 268 (Tex. 2004) (per curiam). A guardian ad litem may, of course, choose to review the file or attend proceedings when it is unnecessary, but the guardian ad litem may not be compensated for unnecessary expenses or services.
4. Only in extraordinary circumstances does the rule contemplate that a guardian ad litem will have a broader role. Even then, the role is limited to determining whether a party's next friend or guardian has an interest adverse to the party that should be considered by the court under Rule 44. In no event may a guardian ad litem supervise or supplant the next friend or undertake to represent the party while serving as guardian ad litem.
5. As an officer and advisor to the court, a guardian ad litem should have qualified judicial immunity.
6. Though an officer and adviser to the court, a guardian ad litem must not have ex parte communications with the court. See Tex. Code Jud. Conduct, Canon 3.
7. Because the role of guardian ad litem is limited in all but extraordinary situations, and any risk that might result from services performed is also limited, compensation, if any is sought, should ordinarily be limited.
8. A violation of this rule is subject to appropriate sanction.