Discretionary appointment of counsel

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Legislation, Housing - Discrimination

A court may appoint counsel for either side in a housing discrimination case pursuant to Del. Code tit. 6, § 4613(b).  In Shahin v. City of Dover, the court addressed the factors that should be considered in deciding whether to appoint counsel, stating: 


I have been unable to find cases addressing the circumstances under which appointment of counsel under Section 4613(a) is warranted, particularly where the plaintiff acknowledges that he is able to afford legal counsel. With regard to indigent party applications under similar statutes or circumstances, our state and federal courts have considered certain factors in determining whether to appoint counsel to prosecute a "claim [that] has arguable merit in fact and law.” 


No. 2018-0352-JRS, 2018 Del. Ch. LEXIS 322, *4 (Del. Chanc. Ct. Sept. 26, 2018).  The court cited to cases that looked at the difficulty of the legal issues, the plaintiff’s ability to present the case, the degree to which factual investigation is necessary, the plaintiff's capacity to retain counsel on their own behalf, the extent to which a case is likely to turn on credibility determinations, and whether the case will require testimony from expert witnesses.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no