Right to counsel

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Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

There is a right to counsel for an indigent minor in "all critical stages" of any proceeding before the Youth Court. Miss. Code Ann. § 43-21-201(1). A court can appoint a layperson or lawyer as guardian ad litem, and in cases where the court appoints a layman as guardian ad litem, the court shall also appoint an attorney to represent the child." § 43-21-121(4). Rule 13(f) of the Uniform Rules of Youth Court Practice adds that even if the guardian ad litem is an attorney, if the child's wishes conflict with the guardian's recommendations, then the court "shall retain the guardian ad litem to represent the best interest of the child and appoint an attorney to represent the child's preferences." If abuse/neglect allegations surface in the context of a custody proceeding, then the court "shall appoint a guardian ad litem for the child as provided under Section 43-21-121, who shall be an attorney." Miss. Code Ann. § 93-5-23.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes