Discretionary appointment of counsel for protected person in sterilization proceedings

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Legislation, Sterilization

A guardian cannot consent for certain medical treatment, including abortion, sterilization, and experimental medical procedures, nor to marriage or divorce, "unless specifically included in the guardianship order after specific findings of fact or otherwise ordered after a subsequent hearing." 20 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 5521(d) (emphasis added). 

In proceedings to establish guardianship, the alleged incapacitated person has "the right to request the appointment of counsel and to have counsel appointed if the court deems it appropriate and the right to have such counsel paid for if it cannot be afforded."  20 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 5511(a).  According to 20 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 5512.2(b), the same rights given in guardianship establishment proceedings apply to review proceedings, which means the discretionary appointment of counsel system should apply as well, and review proceedings likely include hearings related to consent for sterilization given the broad statutory language. Pa. Stat. Ann. § 5512.2(a) ("The court shall conduct a review hearing promptly if the incapacitated person, guardian or any interested party petitions the court for a hearing ... to act in the best interest of the incapacitated person.").

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no