Illinois Supreme Court Doubles Compensation for Attorneys Representing Indigent Parties
Improved Access to Justice
The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that it has amended Supreme Court Rule 299 to double compensation for attorneys appointed to represent indigent parties in the state. Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis highlighted that the amended rule reflects the court’s commitment towards improving access to justice for all, particularly indigent parties. The amendment aims to enhance representation in these essential cases by improving compensation for appointed attorneys.
Revised Compensation Rates
As per the amended rule, an attorney appointed by a court in Illinois to represent an indigent party will receive $150 per hour for in-court time and $150 per hour for out-of-court time, reasonably spent. This is double the original minimum compensation rates of $75 per hour and $50 per hour, respectively. Additionally, the rule raises the maximum compensation amount for court-appointed attorneys representing indigent defendants to $10,000 from the earlier maximum of $5,000.
Ad Hoc Committee on Parent Representation
The proposal for amending Rule 299 originated from the Ad Hoc Committee on Parent Representation and approved by the Court. The Parent Representation Workgroup supported by the state-wide /AOIC, and justices Mary Mikva and Kathryn Zenoff have been working for several years to better represent parents, particularly in child protection/termination cases, and to improve the quality of representation. These amendments will provide fair compensation for appointed attorneys, which will reduce any pressure to compromise on the amount of their time and effort in representing their clients.
Regular Review of Compensation
The increased rates of compensation for appointed attorneys will be regularly reviewed, reflecting the commitment of the state’s legal system towards ensuring fair compensation for attorneys. These revisions will help appointed attorneys to represent indigent parties adequately and diligently and are expected to significantly improve access to justice.
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