Right to guardian ad litem

Key_development Question_mark

03/09/2023, Legislation, Adult Protective Proceedings - Protected Person (incomplete)

Although the Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act (UGPPA), Ala. Code § 26-2A-1, et seq., requires that the court appoint an attorney for an unrepresented adult subject to a “petition for a conservatorship or other protective order,” adult protective proceedings are governed by a different section of the code, the chapter known as Adult Protective Services (APS) Act of 1976, § 38-9-1, et seq


At the hearing on a petition for protective placement or other protective services, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) for an adult who is the subject of the petition if they are unrepresented by counsel. Ala. Code § 38-9-6(a).  However, neither Title 38 (Public Welfare) nor Chapter 9 (Protection of Aged Adults and Adults with a Disability) provide a definition of “guardian ad litem.” See Ala. Code §§ 38-1-1 and 38-9-2, respectively.  Thus, it is unclear whether a GAL appointed under the APS Act must be an attorney.  And although the UGPPA states that the attorney appointed may be “granted the powers and duties of a guardian ad litem,” the UGPPA is incorporated into the APS act only insofar as where the appointment of a guardian becomes necessary. 


Due to this ambiguity, the right is classified as "qualified." 

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes