Right to counsel

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Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Mont. Code § 41-3-112(1) says, “In every judicial proceeding, the court shall appoint a court-appointed special advocate as the guardian ad litem for any child alleged to be abused or neglected. If a court-appointed special advocate is not available for appointment, the court may appoint an attorney or other qualified person to serve as the guardian ad litem..."

 

Mont. Code Ann. § 41-3-425 provides that in abuse/neglect proceedings:

 

(2) Except as provided in subsections (3) through (5), the court shall immediately appoint the office of state public defender to assign counsel for:

(b) any child or youth involved in a proceeding under a petition filed pursuant to 41-3-422 when a guardian ad litem is not appointed for the child or youth; and

(c) any party entitled to counsel at public expense under the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

(3) When appropriate, the court may appoint the office of state public defender to assign counsel for any child or youth involved in a proceeding under a petition filed pursuant to 41-3-422 when a guardian ad litem is appointed for the child or youth.

 

(emphasis added).  See also Mont. Code Ann. § 47–1–104(4)(b)(i) (specifying appointment of counsel regardless of indigence "as provided for in 41-3-425"). A public defender may be appointed on appeal as well. Mont. Code Ann. § 47–1–104(4)(c). 

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes