NH Supreme Court rejects attempt to truncate parental right to counsel

10/19/2015, Court Rule or Initiative, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

The right to counsel for parents in New Hampshire dependency (abuse/neglect) cases has been an up-and-down affair. The state had a statutory right to counsel that it repealed, then there was unsuccessful litigation to establish a constitutional right to counsel, and then the next year the legislature restored the right to counsel just as it had been.


Last year, the New Hampshire Advisory Committee on Rules proposed a rule change that would cause the parent’s attorney to be automatically dismissed within 30 days after the dispositional phase except in certain circumstances.  The NCCRC submitted opposition to the rule change, and also helped organize other individual lawyers and organizations (including the ABA) to submit comments as well as appear at the public hearing that the Court decided to hold in light of the opposition it received.


On October 19, 2015, the NCCRC received word that the Court rejected the rule change in light of the comments it had received.



NCCRC submitted comments in opposition to the rule change and helped organize other commenters.