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San Francisco City Government Courts - Rule 12

San Francisco City Government Courts - Rule 12

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Published by: politix on Jul 25, 2007
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Local Rules of Court San Francisco Superior Court Rule 1269
Rule 12 - Dependency
12.0 Authority.
These local rules are intended to supplement state statutes which are foundprincipally in the Welfare and Institutions Code (W&I) and to supplement the California Rulesof Court (CRC) relating to Unified Family Court matters (see CRC §§5.501-5.562). For theauthority for the creation of these rules see Government Code §68070; W&I Code §317.6(b);350 and CRC §5.534, California Rules of Court. These rules adopt the rules of construction andthe severability of clauses in CRC 5.501.
To the extent that any of these rules conflictwith either statutory requirements or the California Rules of Court,the local rule is of no legal effect
.These rules constitute the working procedures of dependency proceedings in the San FranciscoCounty Unified Family Court and are made Orders of the Court. Failure to abide by these rulesmay subject both child welfare workers and counsel to fines and sanctions.
12.1 Abbreviations.
The following abbreviations are used throughout these rules:BASF = Bar Association of San FranciscoCASA = Court Appointed Special AdvocateCRC = California Rules of CourtDSR = Dependency Status ReviewHSA = San Francisco Human Services AgencyIEP = Individualized Education ProgramPost PPH = Post Permanency Planning HearingSFUFC = SF Unified Family CourtUFC = Unified Family CourtW&I = Welfare & Institutions Code
12.2 Standing Orders.
The Supervising Judge of the UFC may, from time to time, issue,modify or delete Standing Orders regarding matters relevant to dependency proceedings. Whennew Standing Orders are issued, they are distributed to City Attorneys and panel attorneys byBASF. All Standing Orders of the San Francisco Unified Family Court, as well as all SFUFCForms, are available on the Court’s website at www.sfgov.org/site/courts_index.asp, in Room402 of the Civic Center Courthouse and in Room 101 of the Youth Guidance Center.
12.3 Judicial Departments and Assignment of Cases.
The main departments used fordependency cases (W & I §300 et seq.) are Departments 405, 406, 414 and 425. The Courtbegins promptly at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m. All cases (throughout all stages of theproceedings, from detention through adjudication, disposition, dependency status review, postpermanency, and implementation hearing) will be heard in either Dept. 406, 414 or 425, unlessotherwise ordered or approved by order of the Supervising Judge of the UFC.Cases will be assigned to each department alphabetically, based upon the mother’s surname.Cases in which the mother’s surname begins with the letters A-K will be assigned to Dept. 406.
Local Rules of Court San Francisco Superior Court Rule 1270
Cases in which the mother’s surname begins with the letters L-Z will be assigned to Dept. 425.This system is designed to allow vertical tracking of each case through each department.
12.4 Procedure for Incorporating Petitions by Reference.
When the Court orders severalpetitions incorporated by reference under a single petition number, the Court will select the mostrecent petition number as the designated number for all future documents. Any papersubsequently filed or received by the Clerk of the Court must refer to the new number.
12.5 Court Policy Regarding Attorneys and Child Welfare Workers.
It is the policy of theUFC to resolve dependency matters in the least adversarial manner that is possible. Attorneysare expected to provide effective and professional assistance of counsel while at the same timeavoiding an escalation of any animosities that might exist. Counsel and child welfare workersmust treat each other, parents, witnesses, children, and Court staff with dignity and respect.
12.6 Procedures for the Qualification and Training of Applicant Attorneys to theDependency Panel.
Any attorney, including those who transfer in from other counties, wishingto serve on the Dependency Panel must submit an application to the Lawyer Referral Service of the BASF. Procedures for admission to the Panel are available through BASF. Final admissionto the Panel rests in the discretion of the Superior Court.
12.7 Admission to the Dependency Panel.
Upon admission to the Panel, all new membersare subject to a six-month probationary period.
12.8 Continuing Education.
All attorneys serving on the Dependency Panel must complete aminimum of ten (10) hours of continuing education each year in areas relevant to dependencypractice. These ten (10) hours may include participating in the training program for newapplicants. Areas that qualify as “relevant to dependency practice” include, but are not limitedto, the following:A. use of psychological experts, including direct and cross-examination;B. trial skills;C. rules of evidence;D. training programs that include information on child development, substance abuse,mental health issues, incarcerated parents, etc.;E. the child witness;F. training specifically related to dependency practice such as reasonable efforts, .26hearings, etc.;G. programs that provide information on community resources;H. domestic violence training;I. custody, visitation, and child support issues; andJ. Indian Child Welfare Act issues.
12.9 Standards of Representation and Practice.
All attorneys receiving appointments bythe Superior Court to represent parents, children, de facto parents, or guardians are governed bythe Practice Guidelines for Attorneys Practicing in the Dependency Court, Standing Order #225.
12.10 Standards of Representation and Practice.
All attorneys receiving appointments bythe Superior Court to represent parents, children, de facto parents or guardians shall be governed
Local Rules of Court San Francisco Superior Court Rule 1271
by the Practice Guidelines for Attorneys Practicing in the Dependency Court issued November1992. All attorneys must abide by said Practice Guidelines.
12.11 Sanctions for Failure to Abide by Local Rules and Practice Guidelines.
Failure toabide by the Local Rules for Dependency Departments and /or the Practice Guidelines forAttorneys Practicing in the Dependency Court can result in probation, suspension, or removalfrom the BASF Dependency Conflicts Panel and / or other sanctions or appropriate action by thesupervising judge of the Unified Family Court.
12.12 Appointment of Counsel to Case.
If a parent/guardian is financially eligible, counselwill be appointed to represent such person. No appointment of counsel will be made whereparent/guardian does not appear, unless the parent is incarcerated or hospitalized or the Court, inits discretion, deems it appropriate to appoint counsel. Counsel will be appointed to representthe child pursuant to W&I §317.
12.13 Attorney Billings.
All billings must conform to the procedures set forth by theExecutive Offices of the Superior Court and rules established by BASF.A. Billings are subject to adjustment by the Court when the billing is perceived to beexcessive. In addition, the Court may, from time to time, require a more detailedexplanation for a bill and/or require further documentation.B. Attorneys appointed to represent any party are appointed in dependency proceedingsonly. Attorneys must not bill the Court in ancillary proceedings such as immigrationproceedings or proceedings regarding IEP issues unless they have received a writtenorder from the bench officer to whom the case was assigned. A copy of said ordermust be submitted with the attorney’s bill.C. Counsel must not bill on a case when they have not been appointed on that case, evenif the attorney has represented the parent in another case.D. Counsel are not expected to appear on the DSR or Post PPH Calendars, and must notbill for such appearances, unless the client is contesting the HSA recommendation orcounsel recognizes or identifies an issue which counsel feels must be brought to theattention of the Court.
12.14 Dependency Panel Attorneys Serve at the Pleasure of the Court.
Panel attorneysreceive appointments and serve on the Panel at the pleasure of the San Francisco Superior Court.Attorneys who fail to provide effective assistance of counsel are subject to probation,suspension, or termination from the Dependency Panel.
12.15 Dependency Panel Attorneys Subject to Peer Review Program and GrievanceProcedure of BASF.
Dependency Panel attorneys are subject to any peer review programinstituted by the BASF. Recommendations of the Peer Review Committee will be given greatweight by the Supervising Judge of the UFC.The Supervising Judge of the UFC adopts the BASF’s grievance procedure, which is available toany attorney who believes he or she has been unjustly suspended or terminated from Panelmembership.
12.16 Procedures for Reviewing and Resolving Complaints by Parties Against Attorneys.

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