TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Josie Beets on Dec 3, 2014

The Administrative Office of the Courts today released a statement clarifying the recent adoption of a new Rule 13, Section 7, allowing flat fee contracts for court-appointed work in the areas of judicial hospitalization, child support contempt and dependency and neglect cases. The office reiterated that the new rule does not require but merely allows fixed fee contracts in these case areas, nor does it require the AOC to award contracts to lowest bidder or engage in bidding at all.

"The goal is not to displace attorneys who currently do the work," the AOC said in its statement. "The goal is to manage the resources given to the indigent fund by the legislature in the most efficient way possible." The AOC indicated that the first area to use the new contract method will be Shelby County in judicial hospitalization cases. Beginning in January 2015, judges may still assign attorneys to these cases, but only those who agree to the new contract system. In the 2013-14 budget year, judicial hospitalizations represented only 4 percent of the Indigent Representation Fund budget.