Discretionary appointment of guardian ad litem

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Guardianship/Conservatorship of Children - Child (incomplete)

Per 755 ILCS 5/11-10.1(b), "In any proceeding for the appointment of a standby guardian or a guardian the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the minor in the proceeding."  In addition to authority  under the statute, Illinois courts may also appoint a GAL for a minor using their inherent authority:  “Courts have inherent power to appoint a guardian ad litem for a minor involved in litigation; in fact, the trial court has a duty to ensure adequate representation of the minor's interest.”  In re Marriage of Vucic, 576 N.E.2d 406, 411 (Ill. App. Ct. 1991); see also In re Estate of Green, 835 N.E.2d 403, 407 (Ill. App. Ct. 2005) (“minor guardianships are derived from the common law and, therefore, a trial court inherently is empowered to appoint a guardian independent of any authority given to the courts under the Act.”).


However, neither the Article covering minor guardianship matters, 755 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/11-1 et seq., nor the Definitions section of the General Provisions article of the Probate Act, 755 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/1-2, provide a definition for "guardian ad litem."  A definition of GAL was not found in the Rules of Civil Procedure, 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/2-101 et seq., nor the Illinois Supreme Court Rules, both of which apply in all proceedings under the Probate Act "except as otherwise provided". 755 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/1-6.  Accordingly, it is not clear whether the GAL must be an attorney.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes