RULE 1. Authority, Scope, Goals and Definitions
(a) Authority and Scope. These Rules are adopted pursuant to 4 M.R.S. §§ 1551 to 1557, 18-A M.R.S. § 1-112, 19-A M.R.S. § 1507, and 22 M.R.S. § 4005, to address practice and performance of guardians ad litem for children in the District Court, the Superior Court, and the Probate Court. They govern the qualifications for guardians ad litem, standards of conduct for guardians ad litem, appointment of guardians ad litem, and placement of guardians ad litem on, and removal of guardians ad litem from, the guardian ad litem Roster.
(b) Goals. These Rules are designed to govern and define the services provided by guardians ad litem to the court and to promote the best interests of the children whose interests they are appointed to represent. These Rules shall be construed to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action. When appointed pursuant to these Rules, a guardian ad litem is a quasi-judicial officer of the court, primarily subject to and governed by the court in the individual proceeding and by the guardian ad litem oversight process more generally. A guardian ad litem must tailor his or her work to the particular needs and circumstances of each case as identified in the court order appointing the guardian ad litem, but, in general, a guardian ad litem shall
- Represent consistently the best interest of the child and provide information to the court that assists the court in determining the best interest of the child;
- Understand and uphold the law and court orders related to the guardian ad litem’s appointment;
- Maintain the highest standards of professionalism, cultural sensitivity, and ethics;
- Recognize that timely resolution of each matter serves the best interest of the child and the child’s need for stability;
- Within the scope of authority defined by statute or court order, plan, carry out, document, and complete thorough, appropriate, and fair investigations in a timely fashion;
- Communicate in a developmentally appropriate way with the child;
- Make well-reasoned and factually based recommendations regarding the best interest of the child as directed by the order of appointment;
- Pursuant to the order of appointment, include parties in the investigation, use effective communication techniques, recognize limitations that may be imposed by the financial resources of the parties as applicable, and be aware of the cultural and socioeconomic status of the parties; and
- Complete assignments and written reports in a timely manner, and communicate effectively with the court in motions, reports, recommendations, and testimony.
(c) Definitions. As used in these Rules, the following terms have the following definitions:
- Best interests of the child. “Best interests of the child” means an outcome that serves or otherwise advances the health, safety, well-being, education, and growth of the child.
- Board Clerk. “Board Clerk” means the attorney employed by the Board of Overseers to perform advisory, review, and administrative functions as set forth in the Maine Bar Rules and these Rules.
- Bar Counsel. “Bar Counsel” means an attorney employed by the Board of Overseers to perform the prosecutorial function in guardian ad litem disciplinary matters, or Special Counsel retained by the Board of Overseers under these Rules.
- Board of Overseers. “Board of Overseers” means the Board of Overseers of the Bar.
- CASA or CASA Program. “CASA” means a court appointed special advocate, and “CASA Program” means the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program established in Title 4, Chapter 31.
- Central Intake Office. “Central Intake Office” means the office staffed by the Board Clerk that has certain administrative and review functions as set forth in the Maine Bar Rules and these Rules.
- Chief Judge. “Chief Judge” means the Chief Judge of the District Court or the Chief Judge’s designee.
- Complainant. “Complainant” means a person who files a complaint against a guardian ad litem pursuant to the Guardian Ad Litem Review Board Complaint System.
- Guardian ad Litem. “Guardian ad Litem” means a person appointed as the court’s agent to represent the best interests of one or more children pursuant to 18-A M.R.S. § 1-112, 19-A M.R.S. § 1507, and 22 M.R.S. § 4005.
- Guardian ad Litem Review Board Complaint System. “Guardian ad Litem Review Board Complaint System” means the complaint system established in Rule 9.
- Judge, court, or judicial officer. “Judge,” “court,” or “judicial officer” means a Justice of the Superior Court, a Judge of the District Court, a Judge of Probate, or a Family Law Magistrate.
- Maine Supreme Judicial Court. "Maine Supreme Judicial Court” means the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, or a single Justice thereof.
- Office of the Chief Judge. “Office of the Chief Judge” means the administrative office of the Chief Judge of the District Court.
- Public member. “Public member” means a member of the Review Board who is not a rostered guardian ad litem.
- Respondent. “Respondent” means a guardian ad litem who is the subject of an action filed pursuant to the Guardian ad Litem Review Board Complaint System.
- Review Board. “Review Board” means the Guardian ad Litem Review Board established in Rule 7.
- Roster. “Roster” means the roster of guardians ad litem maintained by the Chief Judge that separately identifies CASAs and individuals approved to serve as guardians ad litem in Title 18-A proceedings, Title 19-A proceedings, and/or Title 22 proceedings.
- Sanction. “Sanction” means a public disciplinary action pursuant to Rule 9 of these Rules and includes reprimand and removal of a guardian ad litem from the Roster for misconduct but does not include removal of the guardian ad litem from the Roster for incapacity.
- Serious Crime. “Serious Crime” means any crime defined as a “serious crime” in Maine Bar Rule 23 or any crime in which the victim is a child.