Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law (MHL) sets out the procedure for the appointment of personal needs and property management guardians. A guardian appointed pursuant to article 81 has statutory duties to file both initial and annual reports to the Court containing details relevant to the guardianship. The MHL requires that those reports be examined by a person known as a “court examiner.” For example, the statute requires that a guardian’s annual report must be examined by a court examiner within thirty days of its filing to determine the condition and care of the incapacitated person, the finances of that person, and the manner in which the guardian has carried out his or her duties. Court examiners have various powers enumerated in the MHL, including the power to examine the guardian and other witnesses under oath and reduce their testimony to writing.
Appointment as a court examiner is governed by Part 36 of the Rules of the Chief Judge (see 22 NYCRR Part 36). Applicants for appointment as a court examiner must first be approved by the Appellate Division. Applications for court examiner appointments will be forwarded by the Office of Court Administration to the appropriate Appellate Division(s) for review and approval. Further instructions to serve in that capacity are detailed at www.nycourts.gov/ip/gfs, where you may also find an application form and Frequently Asked Questions.
Prior to filing the application, a prospective court examiner must complete a certified training program, which includes viewing a set of training DVDs entitled, “A Continuing Legal Education Program for Court Examiners,” a series of seminars providing an overview of all aspects of the court examiner’s role under article 81 which was recorded at a live program in May 2012. (Request access to “A Continuing Legal Education Program for Court Examiners”). Current court examiners are required to attend various continuing legal education programs. (Request access to online CLE programs.)