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Rule 80. Rules of Construction and Access to Information

Arizona Revised Statutes AnnotatedRules of the Supreme Court of ArizonaEffective: January 1, 2022

Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated
Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona (Refs & Annos)
VI. Unauthorized Practice of Law (Refs & Annos)
Effective: January 1, 2022
A.R.S. Sup.Ct.Rules, Rule 80
Rule 80. Rules of Construction and Access to Information
(a) Rules of Construction.
1. Related Pending Litigation. The processing of an unauthorized practice of law matter in superior court shall not be delayed because of substantial similarity to the material allegations of pending criminal or civil litigation, unless the superior court, in its discretion, authorizes a stay for good cause shown.
2. Non-Abatement. Unwillingness or failure of the complainant to cooperate with the state bar, withdrawal of a charge by a complainant, settlement, compromise between the complainant and the respondent, or restitution by the respondent shall not abate the processing of any charge or complaint unless deemed appropriate by unauthorized practice of law counsel.
3. Effect of Time Limitations. Except as is otherwise provided in these rules, time is directory and not jurisdictional. Failure to observe prescribed time intervals may result in sanctions against the violator, but does not justify abatement of any unauthorized practice of law investigation or proceeding.
4. Validity of Proceedings. No action taken on any complaint shall be subject to challenge because of defective or insufficient service if, in fact, the respondent had ample notice of the unauthorized practice of law proceedings and full opportunity to be heard. No findings or recommendations made in any proceeding shall be invalidated because of an error in pleading or procedure, or upon any other ground, unless upon review it appears from the entire record, including the evidence, that the error has resulted or will result in a miscarriage of justice.
5. Effect of Dismissal and Prior Sanctions.
A. A dismissal by unauthorized practice of law counsel based upon a determination that no probable cause exists shall not preclude further action based upon the same facts.
B. A dismissal or imposition of sanctions by the superior court after an unauthorized practice of law proceeding or the acceptance by respondent of a recommendation of sanctions by unauthorized practice of law counsel, shall preclude further proceedings based upon the same facts.
C. Prior sanctions imposed on respondent, with or without his or her consent, may be considered by the superior court in recommending or imposing sanctions.
6. Immunity from Civil Suit. Communications to the court, state bar, bar counsel, unauthorized practice of law counsel, volunteer bar counsel, or investigators relating to alleged unauthorized practice of law, and testimony given in the proceedings shall be absolutely privileged conduct, and no civil action predicated thereon may be instituted against any complainant or witness. Board members, bar counsel, unauthorized practice of law counsel, volunteer bar counsel, investigators, and state bar and court staff shall be immune from suit for any conduct in the course of their official duties.
(b) Public Access to Information.
1. Availability of Information. Except as otherwise provided in these rules, the state bar file maintained by the state bar, the record maintained by the superior court clerk, and all proceedings shall be open to the public upon:
A. waiver of confidentiality by respondent;
B. dismissal by unauthorized practice of law counsel; or
C. the filing of a complaint, consent agreement, application for order to show cause regarding contempt, or other document in superior court.
2. Exceptions. Notwithstanding other provisions of these rules, the following do not become public:
A. work product and working files of state bar staff, bar counsel, unauthorized practice of law counsel, volunteer bar counsel, investigators, the committee, or a court or court staff, including but not limited to internal memoranda, internal correspondence, internal emails, notes, and similar documents and files;
B. deliberations pertaining to decisions of unauthorized practice of law counsel the committee, or any court;
C. information with respect to which a protective order has been issued pursuant to these rules;
D. records of requests for information received by the state bar's intake department;
E. an individual's social security number (if a social security number must be used, only the last four digits of that number shall be used);
F. financial account numbers (if financial records must be used, only the last four digits of that number shall be used);
G. medical records;
H. recordings and written transcripts of audio and video witness interviews or statements, unless offered or admitted as exhibits in superior court proceedings; and
I. tax returns and official tax records.
3. Authorized Disclosures. The state bar file shall not be disclosed by the state bar, except that:
A. Before the state bar file becomes public:
i. the name of the person or entity under investigation and the matter under investigation may be disclosed to such person and the persons whose services or testimony are necessary in connection with the proceeding;
ii. the state bar may confirm, upon inquiry concerning the person or entity, and the particular conduct, that a charge has been received and is under investigation or in the prescreening process;
B. The state bar, pursuant to a valid subpoena, may provide documents not otherwise confidential under subparagraph 2, except for charges under investigation or in the prescreening process;
C. The state bar may disclose documents or records related to unauthorized practice of law charges, including documents deemed confidential under subparagraph 2, unless sealed by protective order, to:
i. other lawyer disciplinary entities or agencies;
ii. agencies or individuals authorized to investigate the qualifications of persons for admission to practice law;
iii. agencies or individuals authorized to investigate the qualifications of candidates for judicial office or governmental employment; and
iv. public or prosecuting authorities if it appears that the lawyer has engaged in conduct that may be criminal in nature;
D. If a proceeding is based on allegations that have become generally known to the public, the state bar's board of governors may authorize disclosure of information;
E. the state bar's board of governors may authorize other disclosures that are necessary to protect the public, the administration of justice, or the legal profession; and
F. documents deemed confidential under subparagraph 2 can be used in superior court proceedings.
4. Disclosure by Others. Unless otherwise ordered by a court, nothing in these rules shall prohibit the complainant, respondent, or any witness from disclosing the existence of proceedings under these rules or from disclosing any documents or correspondence served on or provided to those persons.
5. Effect of Disclosure. The disclosure of information under these rules shall not constitute a waiver of any evidentiary, statutory, or other privilege that might otherwise be asserted.
6. Sealing the Record/Protective Orders. Upon motion by a party or by a person from whom the information or evidence was obtained, and for good cause shown, the superior court or this court may order that a portion of the record and/or state bar file be sealed and take other measures to assure the confidentiality of the sealed information. Material sealed shall remain confidential notwithstanding the remaining record in the matter is made public. Sealed material shall be opened and viewed only by an order of a court for use by such body and the parties in proceedings then pending before it, and otherwise only upon notice to and an opportunity to be heard by the parties and the witness or other person furnishing the information.
7. Retention of Records. Records of unauthorized practice of law proceedings maintained by the state bar are subject to the provisions of Rule 70(h) of these rules and administrative orders entered by the court.
(c) Expungement of State Bar Records. State bar records may be expunged as set forth in Rule 71 of these rules and administrative orders entered by the court.

Credits

Added Jan. 15, 2003, effective July 1, 2003. Amended Aug. 25, 2021, effective Jan. 1, 2022.
17A Pt. 2 A. R. S. Sup. Ct. Rules, Rule 80, AZ ST S CT Rule 80
State Court Rules are current with amendments received and effective through 12/15/22. The Code of Judicial Administration is current with amendments received through 12/15/22.
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