Access to Justice Task Force Proposals for Changing Ethics, Civil Rules

By Patricia Sallen, Director of Special Services & Ethics/Deputy General Counsel
January 31, 2012

The State Bar's Access to Justice Task Force was charged last year with developing specific proposals to increase access to civil justice for Arizona's indigent and working poor. The task force's final report included several rule-change proposals.

At its December 2011 meeting, the State Bar Board of Governors directed that those rule-change proposals be vetted through the board's Rules Committee. The Rules Committee, in turn, directed that the proposals for changing Ethical Rules and Rules of Civil Procedure be circulated not only to subject-matter committees and sections but also to the general membership via eLegal.

This petition proposes amending ERs 1.5, 4.2, 4.3 and 6.5 as well as Rules 5.1 and 11 of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure and would facilitate the ability of lawyers to engage in limited-scope or short-term legal representation, thus providing more access to justice for people of limited means.

The Rule 5.1 proposal would allow for limited appearances in all civil matters. Appendix F to the task force report concluded, "Arizona should consider expanding the limited-appearance notion adopted in Family Court and in vulnerable adult exploitation actions by adopting rules similar to those recently adopted by Montana. This would require at the least rewriting Rule 5.1, Ariz. R. Civ. P., which outlines the duties of counsel." Although the task force did not propose a specific rule change, this petition includes a proposed rule that would implement the task force's recommendation.

This rule-change petition has not been filed with the Supreme Court. The Rules Committee still must make a recommendation to the State Bar Board of Governor, which will decide whether to file the petition.

Submit comments via email to rules@azbar.org by 5 p.m. Friday, February 10. Put "Limited Scope" in the subject line.

 

Downloadable Documents:
1. Task Force Final Report
2. Limited Scope Petition