Discretionary appointment of counsel

Court Rule or Initiative, Truancy - Petition Against Child

Pursuant to Haw. Rev. Stat. § 571-11(2)(C), truancy matters in Hawaii are under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the family court, and such matters are treated as status offensesSee Haw. Rev. Stat. § 571-2 and In re Doe, 22 P.3d 987 (Haw. Ct. App. 1999).  Truancy matters are governed by Part D of Hawaii Family Court Rules. Haw. R. Fam. Ct. Rule 81(b).  The rules provide for several situations in which the court may appoint a guardian ad litem or counsel for the child.

First, the rules allow appointment of counsel "in any situation in which [the court] deems it advisable." Haw. R. Fam. Ct. Rule 155.

Next, regarding notice, a child who is 12 years of age or older is entitled to receive notice, but if the child is younger than 12, their parent(s), legal guardian or custodian shall receive the notice on their behalf.  But if there is a conflict of interest between the child and parent(s), "or if neither parent is available, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem, or counsel, or both, to protect the interests of the child. Such a guardian or counsel shall receive the notices authorized by these rules."  Haw. R. Fam. Ct. Rule 153.

Despite the discretionary appointment provision of Haw. R. Fam. Ct. Rule 155, a statutory provision appears to provide a general right to counsel upon request for indigent persons in family court proceedings, which include truancy matters. See Legislation, Truancy - Petition Against Child.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no