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EOIR proposes reg change to allow form preparation

  1. Date Announced

    Sept. 30, 2020

    EOIR issues a proposed rule that would allow practitioners to assist pro se individuals with drafting, writing, or filing applications, motions, forms, petitions, briefs, and other documents with EOIR, as long as the nature of the assistance is disclosed on an Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative form (EOIR-27 or EOIR-28, as amended when new regulations are promulgated). The appearance form will have to be accompanied by an attestation that the practitioner explained the limited scope of assistance to the pro se individual and believes she or he understood.

    The rule would also amend the regulatory definitions of ‘‘practice’’ and ‘‘preparation’’ to distinguish between acts that involve the provision of legal advice or exercise of legal judgment (practice) and acts that consist of purely non-legal assistance (preparation). As currently envisioned, "preparation" will be construed as completing forms or applications without providing any advice (e.g., serving purely as a transcriber or translator). The rule admonishes that ghostwriting — i.e., undisclosed legal drafting or application assistance — will be deemed unethical and subject to discipline by EOIR.

    The proposed rule expressly declines to consider limited appearances outside the existing provisions for custody and bond proceedings.

    (In the preceding ANPRM, EOIR invited public comments on whether it should amend the regulations on representation to permit limited appearances and limited assistance, posing several questions about types of representation that are currently impermissible, including 'single hearing' representation and 'forms only' representation.)

    [ID #1054]

    View Policy Document
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Commentary

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