The executive committee of the State Bar of Texas this morning approved a set of proposed rules that will create a process for lawyers and judges to request more resources for cases with unusual, complex circumstances.
Executive committee members “voted to accept the report and to forward it to the Supreme Court,” says Dickie Hile (pictured), chairman of the Bar’s Task Force on Additional Resources for Complex Cases, the group that created the proposed rules and issued the report.
The Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee already discussed the rules on Oct. 21. Allowing that committee to address the proposed rules in advance of the Bar executive committee’s vote allowed the proposal to move through the approval process more quickly, explains Hile, partner in Dies & Hile in Austin.
The rules meet the requirements of a 2011 judicial-system overhaul bill that included a provision calling for “rules for determining whether civil cases pending in trial courts require additional resources for efficient judicial management.”
Hile says he made a presentation about the proposed rules for both committees, and each group’s members asked questions about the process courts would follow to ask for more resources and the sources of funding for the program. In the absence of a Legislative appropriation, the money would come from grants, donations or available funds from other budgets, he says.
Marisa Secco, rules attorney for the Supreme Court, says she will present the Supreme Court advisory committee’s suggested changes to the nine justices. The high court then can either approve the rules or suggest more revisions. Then the rules “have to be published for public comment by the end of the year. That’s our goal,” she says.
According to the law, the new rules must become effective May 1.
-- Angela Morris