N.D.R.Juv.P. Appendix A
APPENDIX A. CODE OF CONDUCT FOR
LAY GUARDIANS AD LITEM
When providing lay guardian ad litem services to the court, lay guardians ad litem should act with care, reliability, and diligence. In phone calls, meetings, interviews, and other exchanges related to their responsibilities, lay guardians ad litem should act in good faith and in a respectful and professional manner. All activities must be performed in a timely manner.
A lay guardian ad litem must complete all necessary training requirements according to Rule 17 of the North Dakota Rules of Juvenile Procedure, including engaging in regular training programs.
The lay guardian ad litem must provide competent assistance to the court. This competence implies the legal knowledge and professional skills reasonably necessary to provide lay guardian ad litem services.
A lay guardian ad litem shall preserve professional independence in the discharge of the guardian's responsibilities. A lay guardian ad litem must act in accordance with the law, free from all other influence, rendering services based on the guardian's best knowledge. A lay guardian ad litem should avoid any impairment of independence and must not permit professional standards to be compromised by external pressure.
Reports, correspondence, and other documents prepared by lay guardians ad litem should always reflect the highest quality work.
Truthfulness of Information
A lay guardian ad litem may not knowingly give false, misleading, or inconsistent information. A lay guardian ad litem may not try to influence the court directly or indirectly by any ways and means contradictory to the law or this Code.
When providing lay guardian ad litem services, a lay guardian must adhere to the facts. Facts should be presented in as neutral and clear a manner as possible. The facts should speak for themselves, and conclusions and analysis should not involve exaggeration, adjectival assistance, or other editorial overemphasis.
Any and all actions must not be based on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth, political opinion, nationality, country of origin, or any other similar criteria.
Confidentiality and record maintenance are obligations of the lay guardian ad litem. All lay guardians ad litem must maintain confidentiality and protect against unauthorized disclosure and usage of information acquired in connection with the case. Confidentiality is required for all forms of transmission, including verbal, written, digital, manual or hardcopy records, videos, and pictures.
Conflicts of Interest
A conflict of interest arises when a lay guardian ad litem has competing, incompatible duties or when there is a conflict between a lay guardian ad litem's private interests and the guardian's professional responsibilities. A lay guardian ad litem must exercise independence, act with loyalty, and preserve the confidentiality of the case as necessary. The lay guardian ad litem should avoid cases in which there is a conflict of interest. If in the course of providing lay guardian ad litem services a conflict of interest arises, the lay guardian ad litem is obligated to inform the parties and the court about the present conflict and the nature and extent of the conflict. After full disclosure, the lay guardian ad litem may continue to provide services with the express written consent of the parties only if this will not lead to an unjustified compromise of the parties' interests or to a violation of other provisions of this Code.
Communications with Judicial Officer
The lay guardian ad litem may not communicate with a judicial officer, without notice to all parties, concerning a case for which the person is serving as a lay guardian ad litem except that the lay guardian ad litem may communicate with a judicial officer about such matters as scheduling, emergencies, or purely administrative matters that do not deal with substantive matters or issues involved in the case.
Withdrawal of Services
The lay guardian ad litem may not withdraw services unless there is good cause. Good cause may include conflict of interest or inability to provide competent, professional services. If the lay guardian ad litem must withdraw services for good cause, the lay guardian ad litem should try to do so in such a manner that does not adversely affect the best interests of the child.
The lay guardian ad litem must charge a reasonable fee for the guardian's services commensurate with experience and ability. The lay guardian ad litem must provide an accounting for time on each case and must make fees known to the parties in advance of providing services.