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An independent counsel under U.S. law means a judicially appointed investigator of charges with respect to the misbehaviors committed by high government officials. An independent counsel must conduct an impartial investigation and must provide an unbiased opinion about a lawsuit. For instance, an attorney appointed by a governmental branch or agency to investigate on a misconduct committed within that branch or agency is an independent counsel.
With respect to the qualification of an independent counsel it is provided under 28 USCS § 593 that the division of the court shall appoint as independent counsel an individual who has appropriate experience and who will conduct the investigation and any prosecution in a prompt, responsible, and cost-effective manner. The division of the court shall also seek to appoint as independent counsel an individual who will serve to the extent necessary to complete the investigation and any prosecution without undue delay. The division of the court will not appoint as an independent counsel any person who holds any office of profit or trust under the U.S.