GUARDIAN AD LITEM RULE 4: AUTHORITY OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM As an officer of the court, a guardian ad litem has only such authority conferred by the order of appointment. Consistent with the roles and responsibilities set forth in rules 2 and 3, and the grievance procedures set forth in rules 5 and 6, a guardian ad litem shall have the following authority: (a) Access to party. Unless circumstances warrant otherwise, a guardian ad litem shall have access to the persons for whom a guardian ad litem is appointed and to all information relevant to the issues for which a guardian ad litem was appointed. The access of a guardian ad litem to the child or alleged incapacitated person and all relevant information shall not be unduly restricted by any person or agency. When the guardian ad litem seeks contact with a party who is represented by an attorney, the guardian ad litem shall notify the attorney in advance of such contact. The guardian ad litem's contact with the represented party shall be as permitted by the party's attorney, unless otherwise ordered by the court. (b) Timely receipt of case documents. Until discharged by court order a guardian ad litem shall be timely furnished copies of all relevant pleadings, documents, and reports by the party which served or submitted them. (c) Timely notification. A guardian ad litem shall be timely notified of all court hearings, administrative reviews, staffings, investigations, dispositions, and other proceedings concerning the case by the person or agency scheduling the proceeding. (d) Notice of proposed agreements. A guardian ad litem shall be given notice of, and an opportunity to indicate his or her agreement or objection to any proposed agreed order of the parties governing issues substantially related to the duties of a guardian ad litem. (e) Participate in all proceedings. Consistent with rule 2(l), a guardian ad litem shall participate in court hearings through submission of written and supplemental oral reports and as otherwise authorized by statute and court rule. (f) Access to records. Except as limited by law or unless good cause is shown to the court, upon receiving a copy of the order appointing a guardian ad litem, any person or agency, including but not limited to any hospital, school, child care provider, organization, department of social and health services, doctor, health care provider, mental health provider, chemical health program, psychologist, psychiatrist, or law enforcement agency, shall permit a guardian ad litem to inspect and copy any and all records and interview personnel relating to the proceeding for which a guardian ad litem is appointed. (g) Access to court files. Within the scope of appointment, a guardian ad litem shall have access to all superior court and all juvenile court files. Access to sealed or confidential files shall be by separate order. A guardian ad litem's report shall inform the court and parties if the report contains information from sealed or confidential files. The clerk of court shall provide certified copies of the order of appointment to a guardian ad litem upon request and without charge. (h) Additional rights and powers under RCW 13.34 or RCW 26.26. In every case in which a guardian ad litem is a party to the case pursuant to RCW 13.34 or RCW 26.26, a guardian ad litem shall have the rights and powers set forth below. These rights and powers are subject to all applicable statutes and court rules. (1) File documents and respond to discovery. A guardian ad litem shall have the right to file pleadings, motions, notices memoranda, briefs, and other documents, and may, subject to the trial court's discretion engage in and respond to discovery. (2) Note motions and request hearings. A guardian ad litem shall have the right to note motions and request hearings before the court as appropriate to the best interests of the person(s) for whom a guardian ad litem was appointed. (3) Introduce exhibits, examine witnesses. A guardian ad litem shall have the right, subject to the trial court's discretion, to introduce exhibits, subpoena witnesses, and conduct direct and cross examination of witnesses. (4) Oral argument and submission of reports. A guardian ad litem shall have the right to fully participate in the proceedings through submission of written reports, and, may with the consent of the trial court present oral argument. (i) Additional rights and powers in other cases. For good cause shown, a guardian ad litem may petition the court for additional authority as set forth in rule 2(j). (j) Additional training requirements. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall amend the current guardian ad litem mandatory training so that Titles 13 and 26 RCW guardians ad litem are prepared to carry out the additional requirements of this rule. [Adopted effective November 27, 2001.]
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