Connecticut

This page provides a breakdown of all major developments and right to counsel law that the NCCRC knows for this state, sorted by subject area. Click on either tab below to see the aspect it describes.

Color Key Explanation
Categorical Right To Counsel There is a right to counsel without qualification for all indigent individuals in this type of case (except that the individual may be required to request counsel).
Discretionary Appointment Of Counsel Courts are permitted but not required to appoint counsel for any indigent individual in this type of case. A request may be required.
Right Or Appointment Is Qualified The established right to counsel or discretionary appointment of counsel is limited in some way, including: the only authority comes from a lower/intermediate court decision or a city government, not a high court or state legislature; a case has cast doubt on prior authority; a statute is ambiguous; or the right or discretionary appointment is not for all individuals or proceedings within that type of case.
No Such Proceeding This state has no law creating a judicial proceeding of this type.
None While this state does not provide for or require appointment of counsel with respect to the given subject area, it does have something (such as a report or bar policy) that supports the right to or appointment of counsel for this subject area.
Other Because the "Other subject areas” category can include developments from different subject areas that do not work the same way as each other, a blanket categorization of this category is not possible.

Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Connecticut statutes and court rule guarantee counsel for indigent parents in abuse/neglect proceedings, and allows appointment for the appeal.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The court must appoint counsel for a minor in an abuse/neglect case, and can appoint counsel for the appeal.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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All Basic Human Needs

Legislation

Acting on CT legislative task force suggestions, Legislature enacts DV representation pilot

09/01/2018

A new DV representation pilot follows a recommendation of the legislative Task Force to Improve Access to Counsel in Civil Matters.

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon

NCCRC staff provided research support for the task force bill and advised members of the task force.

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Court Rule or Initiative

CT Chief Justice, State Bar President cite importance of civil right to counsel

01/11/2016

The incoming CT State Bar President and the CT Supreme Court Chief Justice say a civil right to counsel must be examined.

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Miscellaneous

NCCRC Coordinator appears on WNPR's "Where We Live" program

07/25/2017

NCCRC Coordinator John Pollock was on WNPR's "Where We Live" program to discuss the right to counsel in civil cases.

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon NCCRC Coordinator John Pollock appeared in the program.

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Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor

Legislation

No such proceeding

There is no requirement that a minor obtain parental input prior to having an abortion.

Child Support Establishment

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A lower court held there is a right to counsel in child support determination hearings if paternity is established.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Civil Contempt in Family Court

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for indigent defendants in family law contempt cases if incarceration is a possibility.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

A federal court and several CT state courts have found a right to counsel for indigent defendants in civil contempt proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A court must appoint counsel for an indigent respondent in civil commitment and placement proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Custody Disputes - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel for the child in a dissolution proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for indigent respondents in conservatorship proceedings, including the review proceedings, and guardianships.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Incarceration for Fees/Fines (incomplete)

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Several CT state courts have found a right to counsel for indigent defendants in civil contempt proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Paternity - Defendant/Respondent

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent putative fathers have a right to counsel in paternity proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

The Connecticut Supreme Court held there is a right to counsel under the state and federal constitutions in state-initiated paternity cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Quarantine/Inoculation

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel - quarantine and vaccination

There is a right to counsel for indigent respondents in quarantine and vaccination proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Sexually Dangerous Persons - Commitment

Legislation

No such proceeding

There is no procedure in the state for confinement of a sexually dangerous/violent person.

Sterilization

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for proceedings to determine consent to sterilization.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Children

Legislation

Right to counsel

Children may be appointed counsel in adoptions.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children are entitled to appointment of counsel in adoption proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Minors have a right to counsel in termination of parental rights proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A Connecticut statute guarantees counsel for indigent parens in adoption proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A Connecticut statute guarantees counsel for indigent parents in termination proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Truancy - Petition Against Child

Legislation

No such proceeding

A 2017 change to the law removed truancy proceedings from court involvement.

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