Discretionary appointment of counsel

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Legislation, All Basic Human Needs

Tennessee has a statute providing judges with the discretion to appoint counsel in any civil case. The statutory section covering Attorney's Right and Duties to indigent persons states, "[a]t the return term of the process, the court may appoint counsel for the plaintiff in actions prosecuted in the manner prescribed for paupers, and also for the defendant, if the defendant makes an oath that, owing to the defendant's poverty, the defendant cannot employ counsel."  Tenn. Code Ann. § 23-2-101. The high court has held that counsel appointed pursuant to this statute is not entitled to compensation, because "Where a lawyer takes his license he takes it burthened with these honorary obligations." House v. Whitis, 64 Tenn. 690, 692 (1875).

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no