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Supreme Court revises rules, creates new committees

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The Indiana Supreme Court has created two new committees to study issues relating to pro se litigants and child advocacy.

The Planning Committee on Self-Represented Litigants will provide a long-range strategy for improving access to justice for pro se litigations, including protocols for judges and clerks or general guidance to courts, legal service providers, and public organizations. This group will meet at least four times a year and recommend policy or procedure changes to the Supreme Court.

The number of members isn't outlined, but the committee will consist of judges, practicing attorneys, legal academia, state and local officials, and public organizations. All will be appointed by the high court and serve three-year terms.

Likewise, the Advisory Commission on Guardian ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocate will provide a similar long-range strategy for promoting, expanding, and training child advocacy programs. Recommendations will also be made to the Supreme Court.

This committee of 18 will be composed of judges and directors of certified, volunteer-based GAL/CASA programs throughout the state. The group will meet at least quarterly and act by a majority vote, according to the rules.

Prior to these committee additions, the Supreme Court oversaw the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee, Race and Gender Fairness Committee, and Records Management Committee.

Details of both newly formed committees are outlined in revisions to Indiana's Administrative Rules, which the court modified this week. The rules take effect Jan. 1. The order can be viewed online here. 

In addition to these administrative rule changes, the Supreme Court also revised other rules such as those governing appellate practice, jury pools, and evidence rules. Many included housekeeping and language revisions; others dealt with increasing the number of allowable print fonts for briefs from 6 to 16, adding a designation of attorney surrogate to disciplinary rules, and changing the hours requirement for specialty status from 33 percent to 25 percent of total practicing hours.

All of the rule changes can be found at the Indiana Supreme Court's Web site.
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