Rule 608

SC Appellate Court Rules, Rule 608. Appointment of Lawyers for Indigents

January 2009. The South Carolina Bar (SCBar) files a petition with the Supreme Court of South Carolina to modify Rule 608 so that no attorneys would be appointed to serve as lawyers for indigents without full compensation.

February 2009. The Supreme Court of South Carolina forwards the SCBar’s request to the South Carolina Access to Justice (SCATJ) Commission to study and make recommendations. The SCATJ Commission convenes the Pro Bono Committee to discuss the request.

Spring into Summer 2009. The SCATJ Commission’s Pro Bono Committee and its Rule 608 Work Group meet to study and review the Rule. The Rule 608 Work Group invites interested parties to meet to discuss issues related to Rule 608. The Rule 608 Work Group meets with the SCBar’s Board of Governors, the SCBar’s Rule 608 Task Force, and others.

July 15, 2009. The SCATJ Commission submits its findings and recommendations to the Court.

July 22, 2009. The Supreme Court of South Carolina modifies Rule 608 regarding exemptions.

November 20, 2009. The Supreme Court of South Carolina amends Rule 608 appointments to end the appointment of attorneys as guardians ad litem (GALs) in the Family Court.

December 17, 2009. The Supreme Court of South Carolina amends Rule 608, effective July 1, 2010,  adopting a number of the recommended appointments. The Supreme Court notes that it will continue to analyze and scrutinize appointments to determine whether further changes are necessary. Specifically the Court will continue to gather data regarding the appointments.

Highlights of the Amendments:

  • Modifications to the Regional List from which attorneys may be selected to assist in handling appointments in other counties – 6 Regional Lists (Region 6 split 1/2 year);
  • Reduced number of appointments in an appointment year – from 10 to 7;
  • Increased the pool of eligible attorneys by raising the age exemption to 65 years of age;
  • Technology advances – attorneys may attend certain hearings by telephone or videoconference;
  • Increased reporting requirements to the SC Bar so that the Court may accurately analyze the appointments by county and type of appointment.

And while the Court graciously thanked all who served on the Rule 608 study group, I too would like to thank the Commissioners, the SC Bar, Court Administration, Court IT personnel, and others who spent numerous hours reviewing data and rerunning data for our study. Thank you!

-RFW

For more posts on Rule 608, click here.

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