Connecticut exploring right to counsel in eviction proceedings

03/12/2019, Legislation, Housing - Evictions

UPDATE: bill introduced to provide right to counsel in evictions

In 2019, a bill emerged from the Task Force's recommendations: SB 652 would guarantee a right to counsel statewide for tenants making less than $50,000 who are in an eviction proceeding.  An op-ed in the Harford Courant notes that Three cities in Connecticut are on the list of the top 50 eviction rates in the nation, and four are in the top 100.


In 2016, Connecticut Senate Bill 426 created a new legislative task force to explore the right to counsel in civil cases.  After meeting several times over the course of the year, the Task Force issued its Final Report in December 2016.  Among other recommendations, the Report called for the state to 

Establish a statutory right to civil counsel in three crucial areas where the fiscal and social cost of likely injustice significantly outweighs the fiscal cost of civil counsel:
a. Restraining orders under General Statutes § 46b-15;
b. Child custody and detained removal (deportation) proceedings;
c. Defense of residential evictions.


The Report suggested the first step in implementation is "establishing a right to counsel pilot program for at least one or more of three areas of critical need: restraining order, family unity (child custody and detained removal

proceedings), and residential eviction cases. "  Connecticut News Junkie has more about the release of the Report.  The Task Force had the backing of many Connecticut leaders, including the Connecticut Bar Association President, the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, the Senate President, and the dean of the University of Connecticut School of Law.  You can read more about the Task Force at Fox 61Hartford Courant, and Caifornia Courts Monitor, Also, you can check out the website of the Task Force.