Code of the District of Columbia

§ 16–2326.01. Compensation of attorneys in neglect and termination of parental rights proceedings.

(a)(1) Except as provided for by subsections (b) and (e), an attorney representing a person who is financially unable to obtain legal counsel in a neglect proceeding or appointed to serve as counsel or guardian ad litem for a child who is the subject of a neglect proceeding shall, at the end of the representation or at the end of a segment of the representation, be compensated at a rate not less than the hourly rates established in D.C. Official Code, sec. 11-2604.

(2) The attorney may make a claim for expenses reasonably incurred during the course of the representation.

(b) Compensation payable pursuant to this section shall be subject to the following limitations:

(1) for all proceedings from initial hearing through disposition, the maximum compensation shall be $1,980;

(2) for all subsequent proceedings other than termination of parental rights, the maximum compensation shall be $1,980 per year;

(3) for proceedings to terminate parental rights, the maximum compensation shall be $2,700; and

(4) for appeal of trial court orders, the maximum compensation shall be $1,350 per case.

(c)(1) A separate claim for compensation and reimbursement shall be made to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for representation before that Court, and to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals for representation before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

(2) Each claim shall be supported by a sworn written statement specifying the time expended, services rendered, and expenses incurred while the case was pending before the court, and the compensation and reimbursement applied for or received in the same case from any other source.

(3) The Superior Court of the District of Columbia or the District of Columbia Court of Appeals shall fix the compensation and reimbursement to be paid to the attorney.

(4) In cases where representation is furnished other than before the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, claims shall be submitted to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia which shall fix compensation and reimbursement to be paid.

(d) For purposes of compensation and other payments authorized by this section, an order by a court granting a new trial shall be deemed to initiate a new case.

(e) If a person for whom counsel is appointed under this section appeals to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the person may do so without prepayment of fees, costs, or security and without filing the affidavit required by D.C. Official Code § 11-2604.

(f) Claims for compensation and reimbursement in excess of the maximum amount provided in subsection (b) may be approved for extended or complex representation when the payment is necessary to provide fair compensation. The request for payment shall be submitted by the attorney for approval by the chief judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia upon recommendation of the presiding judge in the case or, in cases before the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, approval by the chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals upon recommendation of the presiding judge in the case. Each chief judge may delegate such approval authority to an active or senior judge in the court in which the chief judge sits.

(g)(1) Counsel for a person who is financially unable to obtain investigative, expert, or other services necessary for adequate representation may request compensation for services in an ex parte application.

(2) Upon a finding, after appropriate inquiry in an ex parte proceeding, that investigative, expert, or other services are necessary but are not available through existing court resources, and that the person is financially unable to obtain them, the court shall authorize counsel to obtain the services.

(3) Compensation to be paid to a person for services rendered under this subsection shall not exceed $300, unless payment in excess of that limit is certified by the court, as necessary to provide fair compensation for services of an unusual character or duration, and the amount of the excess payment is approved by the presiding judge in the case.

(4) In no event shall the total compensation recoverable for the services described in this section exceed $750 or the rate provided by D.C. Official Code § 11-2605(c).

(h) Compensation for attorneys appointed to represent parties in neglect proceedings and costs of investigative, expert, and other services shall be paid pursuant to procedures established by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.


(Mar. 13, 1985, D.C. Law 5-129, § 2(c), 31 DCR 5192; Feb. 24, 1987, D.C. Law 6-192, § 2, 33 DCR 7836; Aug. 6, 1993, D.C. Law 10-11, § 202, 40 DCR 4007; Sept. 30, 1993, D.C. Law 10-25, § 202, 40 DCR 5489; Dec. 21, 2001, 115 Stat. 928, Pub. L. 107-96, par. 20(a); Nov. 25, 2008, D.C. Law 17-271, § 2, 55 DCR 11033; Mar. 11, 2009, 123 Stat. 700, Pub. L. 111-8, § 822(b); Dec. 14, 2016, 130 Stat. 1350, Pub. L. 114-257, § 6(a)(2).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 16-2326.1.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-316.

Effect of Amendments

Pub. L. 107-96, in subsec. (b) substituted “$1,600” for “$1,100” in pars. (1) and (2), substituted “$2,200” for “$1,500” in par. (3), and substituted “$1,100” for “$750” in par. (4).

D.C. Law 17-271, in subsecs. (b)(1), (2), substituted “$1,760” for “$1,600”; in subsec. (b)(3), substituted “$2,400” for “$2,200”; and, in subsec. (b)(4), substituted “$1,200” for “$1,100”.

Pub. L. 111-8, in subsecs. (b)(1), (2), substituted “$1,980” for “$1,760”; in subsec. (b)(3), substituted “$2,700” for “$2,400”; and, in subsec. (b)(4), substituted “$1,350” for “$1,200”.

Cross References

Services to indigents, payment, see § 11-2604.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment, see § 2 of Appointed Attorney Compensation Emergency Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-455, July 28, 2008, 55 DCR 8717).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Appointed Attorney Compensation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-539, October 20, 2008, 55 DCR 11419).

Effective Dates

Pub. L. 107-96, 115 Stat. 929, the District of Columbia Appropriations Act, 2002, provided in part:

“The amendments made by this provision shall apply with respect to cases and proceedings initiated on or after March 1, 2002.”

Section 822(c) of Pub. L. 111-8 provided: “The amendments made by this section shall apply with respect to cases and proceedings initiated on or after the date of enactment of this Act.”

Editor's Notes

Section 6(b) of Public Law 114-257 provided that the amendments made by section 6(a) of Public Law 114-257 shall apply with respect to any case or proceeding initiated on or after December 14, 2016.

Section 28(c)(5) of D.C. Law 15-354 provided that the section designation of § 16-2326.1 of the District of Columbia Official Code is redesignated as § 16-2326.01.

Section 3 of D.C. Law 17-271 provided: “Sec. 3. Applicability of maximum compensation increases. Section 2 shall apply to compensation for representation provided in cases and proceedings initiated on or after the effective date of An Act To amend title 11, District of Columbia Official Code, to implement the increase provided under the District of Columbia Appropriations Act, 2008, in the amount of funds made available for the compensation of attorneys representing indigent defendants in the District of Columbia courts, and for other purposes, H.R. 5551, 110th Cong. (2008).”