Right to counsel

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Legislation, Civil Commitment

Indigent adult respondents have the right to counsel in civil commitment proceedings related to mental health under Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 17a-498(b), as do minor respondents subject to the same. See Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 17a-77(a) (providing that court must appoint counsel for commitment of mentally ill child and that “Counsel appointed to represent such child shall also be appointed guardian ad litem for such child unless the court deems it appropriate to appoint a separate guardian ad litem.”).

Indigent respondents in matters related to commitment for substance abuse treatment have the right to counsel under Gen. Stat. Ann. §17a-685(c).  The right extends to applications to terminate commitment. See Gen. Stat. Ann. §17a-685(l). 


Finally, Conn. Stat. § 17a-274(d) provides that where the probate court determines whether to place a person with intellectual disability with the Department of Developmental Services “for placement in any appropriate setting which meets the person’s habilitative needs in the least restrictive environment available or which can be created within existing resources of the department,” the indigent person has a right to counsel.  

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no