NH Supreme Court extends right to counsel to certain debt collection cases

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09/18/2018, Litigation, Consumer or Other Debt

Last year, the ACLU of New Hampshire fought successfully for the passage of a law that requires the appointment of counsel when a person faces imprisonment for inability to pay an “assessment”, i.e. a court fee or fine.  The question then arose as to whether this law applied when the state brought a debt collection action to collect reimbursements that indigent people are required to pay for their appointed counsel in a criminal case.  The ACLU of NH, along with NH Legal Assistance, sued and the Supreme Court of New Hampshire ruled that these reimbursement orders constituted an “assessment” such that they fell under the new law.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes