REVISED FEE SCHEDULE FOR GUARDIANS AD LITEM AND COURT APPOINTED WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEYS IN ALL COURTS

STATE OF MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER JB-05-5 (A. 10-17) (PDF)

Effective: October 1, 2017

This order amends JB-05-5 (A. 7-16.2), signed January 6, 2017, effective July 29, 2016.

The following schedules and administrative procedures are adopted in all courts for all court-appointed guardians ad litem (GALs) in District Court and workers’ compensation attorneys submitting bills on or after the effective date of this order1.

I.  HOME COURT

Each rostered GAL shall designate his/her home court or courts by notifying the Administrative Office of the Courts in writing.  Absent unusual circumstances, a rostered GAL shall not be appointed to cases in courts other than his/her home court(s).  A rostered GAL will not be reimbursed for travel time or mileage to or from his/her designated home courts.

II.  HOURLY RATE FOR GALS

GALs shall be paid the same hourly rate paid to attorneys appointed to represent parents in child protection proceedings.  GALs shall prorate all time among multiple cases when such time involves actions in common with other cases (e.g., travel, waiting, and research time).  In all cases involving GALs, the courts will make every effort to reduce costs by adopting scheduling practices that limit the number and length of court appearances.

III.   ITEMIZED TIME AND EXPENSE REQUIREMENTS FOR GALS

  1. Itemization of Time.  Time spent shall be outlined in detailed, separately itemized billing statements. Sufficient detail shall be provided to allow the court to gauge the nature of each task and the time spent on that task.  GALs will avoid block billing (i.e., the consolidation of more than one task into a time description, with a number of hours billed for the entire block).
  2. Routine Office Expenses.  Routine office expenses are included in the hourly rate and will not be reimbursed.  Routine office expenses include but are not limited to charges for postage, telephone, cell telephone, fax, office overhead, utilities, secretarial services, routine copying, parking, and office supplies.
  3. Nonroutine Expenses.  Non-routine expenses such as the actual cost of reasonable long-distance calls (if billed by a telephone carrier) collect telephone calls, tolls, and fees paid to third parties such as witnesses, subpoena and service fees, may be reimbursed.  Fees for service of process by persons other than the sheriff shall not exceed those allowed by 30-A M.R.S. § 421.
  4. Travel Reimbursement.  Mileage will be reimbursed at the applicable State rate. A GAL will not be reimbursed for mileage for travel to or from his/her designated home courts.  The Chief Judge or designee must approve in writing all out-of-state and overnight travel before the expense is incurred.  Use of the telephone, video equipment, and e‑mail in lieu of travel is encouraged as appropriate.
  5. Third Party or Extraordinary Expenses.  Pre-approval by the court is required for non-routine expenses such as payment to third parties (e.g., investigators, medical and psychological experts, testing, transcripts, depositions) or extraordinary (more than $100) non-routine expenses.  Funds for third-party services and extraordinary expenses will be approved by the court only upon (1) written motion; (2) a sufficient demonstration of reasonableness, relevancy, and need; and (3) a demonstration that the third-party or other expense is not one that is usually the responsibility of the State or counsel for one of the parties.  A GAL shall not request services from or advance funds for any investigator or other service providers without pre-approval from the court.

    1. If the court approves fees for an expert or an investigator the GAL is responsible for the following:
      (a)   Providing the service provider with clear instructions as to his or her responsibilities;
      (b)   Notifying the service provider that there is a limit on the amount of funds approved and that the court will not approve payment of any charges in excess of the approved amount;
      (c)    Notifying the service provider that the arrangement for services is between the GAL and the service provider; the service provider is not authorized to act as an agent of the court; and any agreement with the GAL is not to be construed as an appointment by the court or endorsement of services; and
      (d)   Forwarding any statement for services to the clerk for processing and payment.  The GAL must state whether the services were satisfactory and whether all applicable reports and other information have been received.

    2. The court may set a maximum fee and an hourly rate for a service provider.  Amounts approved by the court are deemed to include reasonable expenses, including but not limited to, office and out‑of-pocket expenses, mileage, travel time, preparation of reports, and appearances at court.

IV.  MAXIMUM HOURS

Invoices submitted for time greater than the applicable maximum total hours will not be approved for payment except as approved by the Chief Judge of the District Court or designee.

  1. All Cases in the District Court.
    1. GALs shall only be reimbursed for activities authorized by the GAL’s order of appointment, court rule, or subsequent orders of the court.
    2. A GAL must obtain prior court approval to be paid for time exceeding the allowable or court ordered maximum hours.
  1. Child Protection Cases in the District Court.
    1. The maximum number of hours for which a GAL will be reimbursed in a child protection case is as follows:
      (a)    For each “legal stage”2 of a child protection case, except a contested termination of parental rights hearing, the GAL may be reimbursed up to a maximum of 15 hours;
      (b)   For a contested hearing on a petition for termination of parental rights the GAL may be reimbursed up to a maximum of 21 hours.

    2. A child protection voucher that exceeds the cap by more than five hours without prior approval from the trial judge will not be paid to the extent that it exceeds the cap.

  2. Guardianship of a Minor Cases in District Court.
  3. In a proceeding to determine guardianship of a minor under Title 18‑A, the court may appoint a Rostered guardian ad litem for the child when the court has reason for special concern as to the welfare of the child, and the parties are indigent. The Order of Appointment shall state the basis for the appointment, and shall cap the maximum number of hours for which a GAL may be reimbursed at 15 hours.

  4. Other Case Types in District Court.

The maximum number of hours for which a GAL will be reimbursed in cases other than a child protection case or a guardianship of a minor case is at the discretion of the presiding judicial officer handling the case, but, after consultation with the parties, the maximum imposed must be designated in the court’s order of appointment.

  1. Appeals to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (Law Court).
    1. Appeals by Court-Appointed GALs                            

      (a)    The Law Court will not pay fees to a GAL for work performed on an appeal, whether commenced by the GAL or another party, unless, within fourteen days after the Clerk of the Law Court issues the docketing notice, the GAL files with the Law Court a motion for pre-approval of GAL fees.  The Court will grant the motion only if the appeal raises a meritorious issue and no other party could adequately present the GAL’s position to the Court.

      (b)  For an appeal for which the GAL has obtained pre-approval for fees, the Law Court will set a fee consistent with the hourly rate paid to lawyers through MCILS for no more than nine hours of work on the appeal unless the GAL files, within twenty-one days after the date the appellee’s brief is filed or due to be filed, an itemized statement of the time the GAL expended on the appeal.  If the GAL timely files the itemized statement, the Court will set a fee at a rate consistent with the hourly rate paid to lawyers through MCILS for any time reasonably expended.

    2. Appeals by Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

      (a)    For cases in which the date of injury is prior to June 5, 1985, the Court will award a standard fee of $750 and reasonable out-of-pocket expenses.

      (b)   For cases subject to the “prevail rule” which was in effect from June 5, 1985, through December 31, 1992, counsel must file an itemized statement with the Court within twenty days of the final disposition of the appeal.

      (c)    For cases arising pursuant to Title 39-A (which became effective on January 1, 1993), the Court will not award any counsel fees.

      (d)   Workers’ Compensation Attorney Vouchers must be submitted within thirty days after final disposition.  Vouchers submitted after the thirty‑day period will not be paid.

V.      ADMINISTRATION OF PAYMENT

    1. All invoices in child protection cases must be submitted to the court of disposition using the current court-approved voucher form (PC‑024) and must comply with all instructions on the form.  The clerk, deputy clerk, or clerk’s designee at the direction of the Chief Judge may approve vouchers in child protection cases that request payment for 10 hours or less and/or no more than $75 in expenses.  Vouchers requesting payment for over 10 hours and/or more than $75 in expenses must be approved by the judicial officer who handled the case and the Chief Judge or designee.
    2. All expenses claimed for reimbursement must be fully itemized and submitted with the required invoice or voucher.
    3. All vouchers must be submitted within 90 days after the completion of each legal stage.  Invoices submitted more than 90 days after completion of a legal stage will not be paid.  
    4. Requests for fees for appeals to the Law Court shall be submitted to the Clerk of the Law Court.
    5. Copies of receipts for payments to third parties must be fully itemized and submitted with the required invoice or voucher. 

The Chief Justice of the Superior Court and the Chief Judge of the District Court are hereby authorized to establish such procedures as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this Order.

                                                         For the Court,

     

                                                                   /s/                                         
                                                          Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice
                                                          Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Promulgation Date:  September 7, 2017
                                 

1 The determination of indigency, the assignment and compensation of all other counsel, and all like matters shall be governed by the provisions of Rule 88 of the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure, incorporating by reference Maine Rules of Criminal Procedure 44, 44A, 44B, and 44C.

2 A legal stage of a child protection case is defined as follows: when an Order is issued after a summary preliminary hearing, jeopardy hearing, judicial review and/or permanency hearing, a cease reunification contested hearing, a termination of parental rights hearing, or a contested permanency guardianship or contested child placement hearing.


Revised Fee Schedule for Guardians Ad Litem and Court Appointed Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in All Courts
AO JB-05-5 (A. 10-17), dated September 7, 2017, effective October 1, 2017
Signed By: Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Issued to clarify language throughout and to (1) add a new section III(A) regarding the itemization of time; (2) state in section III(E) that a GAL shall not request services from or advance funds for any investigator or other service provider without pre-approval from the court, omitting former section III(E)(1)(a) as duplicative and making former subdivisions (b) through (e) new subdivisions (a) through (d); (3) amend section IV(B)(2) to provide that a child protection voucher exceeding the cap by more than five hours without approval by the trial judge will not be paid above that cap; (4) amend section IV(E)(1)(b) to change the rate of $60 per hour to a rate “consistent with the hourly rate paid to lawyers through MCILS”; (5) provide the form number for the court-approved voucher form in section V(A); (5) move the requirement of itemization of expenses claimed for reimbursement from section V(F) to section V(B); (6) omit the requirement in section V of billing in 0.1-hour increments; (7) provide in section V for requests for fees for appeals to the Law Court to be submitted to the Clerk of the Law Court instead of a Justice of the Law Court; (8) convert subdivision V(G) into a freestanding paragraph in section V.

Historical Derivation of JB-05-5

Revised Fee Schedule for Guardians Ad Litem and Court Appointed Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in All Courts
AO JB-05-5 (A. 7-16.2), dated January 6, 2017, effective July 29, 2016
Signed By: Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Issued to update the schedule in light of the Act to Ensure a Continuing Home Court for Cases Involving Children, P.L. 2015, ch. 460 (effective July 29, 2016).  Specifically, issued to add section IV(A)(2) to require a GAL to obtain prior court approval to be paid for time exceeding the allowable or court ordered maximum hours in all cases in the District Court; to add heading IV(B) for child protection cases in the District Court; to add provisions specific to guardianship of a minor cases and other case types in the District Court in section IV(C) and (D); and to improve clarity regarding the increments used for billing in section V(C).

Revised Fee Schedule for Guardians Ad Litem and Court Appointed Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in All Courts
AO JB-05-5 (A. 7-16), dated July 1, 2016, effective July 1, 2016
Signed By: Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court
Issued to improve organization throughout; to employ the shorthand “GAL” instead of “guardian” throughout; to identify the Administrative Office of the Courts as the entity to notify of any home court designation(s); to refer to “rostered” GALs in section I; to change the hourly rate for court appointed GALs to correspond with the hourly rate established for attorneys appointed to represent parents in child protection proceedings; to specify that when a GAL is assigned, the court will make every effort to reduce costs by scheduling cases to limit the number and length of court appearances; to clarify the distinctions between routine, non-routine, and third-party or extraordinary (more than $100) expenses; to specify that the Chief Judge or designee must approve in writing all out-of-state travel prior to the expense being incurred; to remove references to responsibilities that are now governed by the Maine Rules for Guardians Ad Litem; to specify that for each “legal stage ” of a child protection case, except a contested termination of parental rights hearing, the GAL may be reimbursed up to a maximum of 15 hours, with additional hours requiring prior court approval; to define “legal stage”; to specify that for a contested hearing on a petition for termination of parental rights the GAL may be reimbursed up to a maximum of 21 hours, with additional hours requiring prior court approval; and to provide that a child protection voucher that exceeds the established cap by more than five hours without prior court approval will not, absent extraordinary circumstances, be paid to the extent that it exceeds the cap.

Revised Fee Schedule for Guardians Ad Litem and Court Appointed Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in All Courts
AO JB-05-5 (A. 9-11), dated and effective September 19, 2011
Signed By: Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Revised Fee Schedule for Guardians Ad Litem and Court Appointed Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in All Courts
AO JB-05-5 (A. 8-10), dated July 21, 2010, effective August 1, 2010
Signed By: Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Revised Fee Schedule for Court-Appointed Counsel and Guardians Ad Litem in All Courts
AO JB-05-5 (A. 7-08), dated June 27, 2008, effective July 1, 2008
Signed by: Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice. Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Revised Fee Schedule for Court-Appointed Counsel and Guardians Ad Litem in All Courts
AO JB-05-5 (A. 1-07), dated January 22, 2007, effective January 1, 2007
Signed by: Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Fee Schedule for Court-Appointed Counsel and Guardians Ad Litem in All Courts
AO JB-05-5 (A. 4-06), dated April 13, 2006, effective April 14, 2006
Signed by: Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Fee Schedule for Court-Appointed Counsel and Guardians Ad Litem in All Courts
AO JB-05-5 (A. 1-06), dated December 19, 2005, effective January 1, 2006
Signed by: Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Fee Schedule for Court-Appointed Counsel and Guardians Ad Litem in All Courts
AO JB-05-5, dated June 29, 2005, effective January 1, 2006
Signed by: Leigh I. Saufley, Chief Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Fee Schedule for Court-Appointed Counsel in All Courts
AO JB-00-01, dated June 5, 2000 (which replaced SJC-226, SJC-318, and SJC-406)
Signed by: Daniel E. Wathen, Chief Justice, Maine Supreme Judicial Court; Andrew M. Mead, Chief Justice, Maine Superior Court; and Michael N. Westcott, Chief Judge, Maine District Court

ADDENDUM TO ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER SJC-226/318/406 Effective: July 1, 2000