Virgin Islands Attorney Tom Bolt, Managing Attorney of the St. Thomas firm of Tom Bolt & Associates, PC, has been called back into the fray between various legal organizations to mediate a dispute relative to national standards for legal representation of children. In August 2006, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws adopted the "Uniform Representation of Children in Abuse, Neglect, and Custody Proceedings Act". NCCUSL, the 115 year old state governmental organization, provides states and territories with non-partisan legislation in critical areas of the law. Bolt has been a member of NCCUSL since 1988.
The "Uniform Representation of Children in Abuse, Neglect, and Custody Proceedings Act" has run into controversy within the American Bar Association. The ABA has a close relationship with NCCUSL and the ABA House of Delegates, the policy making body for the American Bar Association, routinely considers NCCUSL acts for approval. "The Representation of Children Act would have normally gone before the ABA’s House of Delegates at its February meeting in Miami of this year, but there was a difference of opinion between two sections of the ABA, its Family Law Section and its Litigation Section," Bolt said. "Having served 20 years in the ABA’s House of Delegates and as a Uniform Law Commissioner, I was asked to assist in mediating this dispute and hopefully developing a consensus."
Mike Kerr, Acting Legislative Director of NCCUSL said, "We appreciate Attorney Bolt’s willingness to facilitate this mediation. He assisted us before in organizing the mediation on the "Uniform Parentage Act" with various ABA constituency groups." Bolt, although not a practictioner of family law, has extensive experience in government relations and negotiation and is a member of the Joint Editorial Board on Uniform Family Laws.
All parties concerned, including the two ABA Section representatives, will meet in Monterey, California April 27-29th at the Spring Meeting of the ABA Family Law Section to discuss the differences between the two ABA Sections. "Any suggested amendments would need to go back to NCCUSL for approval at its Annual Meeting this summer." Bolt said. "I would not anticipate the revised Act coming before the ABA House of Delegates until its Midyear Meeting next February." he said. "It is my sincere hope that the parties can put partisan politics behind them, adhere to ABA policy, and put the best interest of children at the forefront." Bolt concluded.