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Scope of Representation


Question:

What are the respective responsibilities of the court and the attorneys to advise litigants or parties of matters outside the scope of the attorneys’ representation or appointment in coordinated cases?

Answer:

The Court’s Responsibility:

In those situations where a court appointed attorney is present in court on a coordinated case that is beyond the scope of the attorney’s appointment, the court may verbally reference the order of appointment that limits the attorney’s obligations so it is clear in the record.  Also, the court should be mindful of confidential matters and ensure that only the correct parties are present unless confidentiality is properly waived.

The Attorney’s Responsibility:

The attorney’s obligation is to clearly explain the scope of his or her representation to the client, and to operate in accordance with the order of appointment and the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar.  It is also the attorney’s responsibility to determine if there are any other cases that may affect their representation.  An attorney should also inform the court if he or she has a limited obligation or appearance so the court will not treat an appearance as a general appearance for all purposes, and should file the appropriate forms as required by the rules of procedure.

Background & Analysis