The Fort Worth Court of Appeals recently held that it was error for a trial court to order that an attorney not file a notice of appeal until his client directed him to do so. After trial, Relator’s counsel sought to have appellate counsel substiuted in for any possible appeal. The Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services (Department) opposed the request and argued that no appellate counsel should be appointed, and no notice of appeal should be filed, until Relator expressed his desire to appeal. The trial court signed an order denying the substitution and prohibiting counsel from filing a notice of appeal unless Relator so directed. Relator sought mandamus relief and argued that whether counsel has authority from a client to file a notice of appeal is an issue for the appellate court regarding its jurisdiction. The court of appeals agreed, holding that "to the extent there is a factual dispute concerning the lawyer’s authority to file a notice of appeal, the dispute must be resolved by the court of appeals . . . ." The court also held that "[t]he trial court does not, however, have the authority to interfere with our jurisdiction by prohibiting a party from filing a notice of appeal." Accordingly, the court granted the petition and ordered the trial court to vacate its order prohibiting the filing of a notice of appeal. The court’s opinion in In re J.R.J. can be found at this link.