Ad Litem Law and Legal Definition

Ad Litem is a Latin phrase meaning “for the suit” or “for the purpose of legal action.”

Usually it refers to a party appointed by a Court to act on behalf of another party who is incapable of representing himself or herself. For example, a guardian "ad litem" is a person appointed by the court to protect the interests of a minor or legally incompetent person in a lawsuit.The court may appoint either a lawyer or a court appointed special advocate volunteer to serve as guardian ad litem in juvenile matters, family court matters, probate matters, and domestic relations matters.

In property litigation, it can refer to a person who is appointed by the court to act on behalf of the estate in the proceedings before court when the estate's proper representatives are unable or unwilling to act.

Example of a State Statute on qualification of Ad-Litem Attorneys.

Tex. Prob. Code § 647A

Certification Requirement for Certain Court-Appointed Attorneys

(a) A court-appointed attorney in any guardianship proceeding must be certified by the State Bar of Texas or a person or other entity designated by the state bar as having successfully completed a course of study in guardianship law and procedure sponsored by the state bar or its designee.

(b) For certification under this section, the state bar shall require three hours of credit.

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (e) of this section, a certificate issued under this section expires on the second anniversary of the date the certificate is issued.

(d) To be eligible to be appointed by a court to represent a person at a guardianship proceeding, an attorney whose certificate has expired must obtain a new certificate.

(e) A new certificate obtained by a person who previously has been issued a certificate under this section expires on the fourth anniversary of the date the new certificate is issued if the person has been certified each of the four years immediately preceding the date the new certificate is issued.