Opinion: 96-13

March 12, 1996

Digest:  A Surrogate may appoint his/her law secretary's spouse as a guardian adlitem.

Rules:  22 NYCRR 36.1(B)(1); 36.1(E); 100.3(C)(3).


            A Surrogate inquires whether he/she may appoint as a guardian adlitem a lawyer who is the spouse of the Surrogate's law secretary. According to section 36.1(b)(1) of the Rules of the Chief Judge, "no person shall be appointed [guardian ad litem] who is . . . related by marriage to a judge of the Unified Court System . . . ." The Surrogate's law secretary is not a "judge of the Unified Court System" and therefore that provision is not applicable. Also, the proposed appointment does not contravene the provisions of section 100.3(C)(3) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct in that the proposed appointee is not related either to the Surrogate or the Surrogate's spouse. Therefore, the Committee concludes that the Surrogate may appoint his/her law secretary's spouse, as a guardian ad litem.