NY Legislature first to declare support for civil right to counsel principles

06/18/2015, Legislation, All Basic Human Needs

In his State of the Judiciary Speech, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman called for a joint legislative-judicial resolution “that makes it unmistakably clear as a matter of policy and principle that low-income New Yorkers facing legal matters concerning the necessities of life are entitled to effective legal assistance in civil proceedings.”  The New York Times Editorial Board subsequently weighed in on the Chief’s speech, including the point about civil right to counsel.


Responding to NY Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's call, the NY Legislature’s two houses adopted a concurrent resolution stating in part:


It should be the policy of the state of New York, that every New Yorker in need have effective legal assistance in matters involving the essentials of life (housing, family matters, access to healthcare, education and subsistence income).


In an article in the New York Law Journal, Judge Lippman characterized the resolution as more of a “civil Gideon” resolution and noted that it was the first one of its kind by a state legislature.