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South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
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2009-10-16-02

The Supreme Court of South Carolina

RE:   Amendments to Rule 402 of the South Carolina Appellate
          Court Rules


ORDER


Pursuant to Article V, §4 of the South Carolina Constitution, Rule 402 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules (SCACR) is amended as shown in the attachment to this order.  These amendments shall be effective January 1, 2010.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

s/Jean H. Toal                                    C.J.

s/John H. Waller, Jr.                           J.

s/Costa M. Pleicones                        J.

s/Donald W. Beatty                            J.

s/John W. Kittredge                           J.

Columbia, South Carolina
October 16, 2009


Amendments to Rule 402, SCACR

(1) Rule 402(b), SCACR, is amended to read:

(b) Committee on Character and Fitness.

(1) Members. The Committee on Character and Fitness shall consist of twelve (12) active members of the South Carolina Bar who shall be appointed by the Supreme Court for five (5) year terms.   In case of a vacancy on the Committee, the Supreme Court shall appoint an active member of the Bar to serve the remainder of the unexpired term.

(2) Chair; Secretary. The Supreme Court shall appoint a chair and a secretary of the Committee from among the Committee's membership.

(3) Panels and Meetings.   The members shall be divided by the chair into panels composed of three (3) members.  The chair may rotate membership on the panels, and may substitute members between panels.   Panels shall meet when scheduled by the chair or the Committee, and the full Committee may meet to consider administrative matters.   Meetings of the Committee other than periodic meetings may be called by the chair upon the chair's own motion and shall be called by the chair upon the written request of three members of the Committee.

(4) Quorum.   A quorum for a meeting of the full Committee shall be seven (7) members, and a quorum for a panel shall be three (3) members.

(5) Duties.  The Committee on Character and Fitness shall investigate and determine whether an applicant for admission to the Bar possesses the qualifications prescribed by this Rule as to age, legal education, and character.  The applicant must establish to the reasonable satisfaction of a majority of a panel that the applicant is qualified.   In conducting investigations, a panel may take and hear testimony, compel by subpoena the attendance of witnesses, and require the applicant to appear for a hearing before a panel or for a personal interview before a single member of the Committee. An applicant will not be denied admission by the Committee without being afforded the opportunity for a hearing before a panel.  Any member of the Committee may administer oaths and issue subpoenas.  The Committee may adopt rules that shall become effective upon approval by the Supreme Court.  In addition, the Committee shall perform the duties specified by Rule 33 of the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement contained in Rule 413, SCACR, and any other duties as directed by the Supreme Court.

(2) Rule 402(c)(4), SCACR, is amended to read:  "has been found qualified by a panel of the Committee on Character and Fitness;".