Right to counsel
While a state may have many statutes, court decisions, or court rules governing appointment of counsel for a particular subject area, a "Key Development" is a statute/decision/rule that prevails over the others (example: a state high court decision finding a categorical right to counsel in guardianships cases takes precedence over a statute saying appointment in guardianship cases is discretionary).
Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents
4 N. J. Stat. Ann. § 30:4C-15.4 states:
a. In any action concerning the termination of parental rights filed pursuant to section 15 of P.L.1951, c. 138 (C.30:4C-15), the court shall provide the respondent parent with notice of the right to retain and consult with legal counsel. If the parent appears before the court, is indigent and requests counsel, the court shall appoint the Office of the Public Defender to represent the parent. The Office of the Public Defender shall appoint counsel to represent the parent in accordance with subsection c. of this section.
If the parent was previously represented by counsel from the Office of the Public Defender in a child abuse or neglect action filed pursuant to chapter 6 of Title 9 of the Revised Statutes on behalf of the same child, the same counsel, to the extent practicable, shall continue to represent the parent in the termination of parental rights action, unless that counsel seeks to be relieved by the court upon application for substitution of counsel or other just cause.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the parent from retaining private counsel.
c. The Office of the Public Defender is authorized to provide representation to children and indigent parents in termination of parental rights proceedings under Title 30 of the Revised Statutes pursuant to the provisions of this section.
(1) In selecting attorneys to serve as law guardians or counsel for indigent parents, the Office of the Public Defender shall take into consideration the nature, complexity and other characteristics of the cases, the services to be performed, the status of the matters, the attorney's pertinent trial and other legal experience and other relevant factors. The Office of the Public Defender also shall take into consideration an attorney's willingness to make a commitment to represent a child or parent, as applicable, in any actions taken under Titles 9 and 30 of the Revised Statutes related to child abuse and neglect and termination of parental rights.
(2) The Office of the Public Defender shall ensure that an attorney selected pursuant to this section has received training in representing clients in child abuse and neglect and termination of parental rights actions from the Office of the Public Defender or will receive such equivalent training, as soon as practicable, from other sources.
(3) The Office of the Public Defender shall provide for an internal administrative unit with the responsibility to supervise, evaluate and select non-staff counsel who will represent indigent parents independently from the Law Guardian Program staff in the Office of the Public Defender. All decisions of the Office of the Public Defender concerning the representation of indigent parents in particular cases shall be made by staff who have no actual involvement with the day-to-day legal representation being provided by the Law Guardian Program in the Office of the Public Defender.
If "yes", the established right to counsel or discretionary appointment of counsel is limited in some way, including any of: the only authority is a lower/intermediate court decision or a city council, not a high court or state legislature; there has been a subsequent case that has cast doubt; a statute is ambiguous; or the right or discretionary appointment is not for all types of individuals or proceedings within that category.
Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no