Louisiana

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

Indigent parents are entitled to counsel in abuse/neglect proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

An appellate court found a state and federal due process right to counsel in abuse/neglect cases, although the decision is in some question.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A child has a right to counsel in abuse/neglect proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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All Basic Human Needs

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel - certain defendants

A court must appoint counsel for certain types of unrepresented defendants.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Litigation

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The Louisiana Supreme Court has said that trial courts possess the inherent power to appoint counsel in civil cases.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Benefits - Claimant

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel in a proceeding to have a curator appointed to apply for public assistance for a mentally incompetent person.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

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Child Support Establishment

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

One appellate court found a right to counsel in a child support establishment proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Adults and children have a right to counsel in civil commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Custody Disputes - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A court must appoint counsel for a child in certain custody situations, and may appoint counsel in others.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for the subject of an interdiction (guardianship) proceeding, including the modification or termination.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Incarceration for Fees/Fines (incomplete)

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

New Louisiana law requires counsel for fines/fees cases

06/21/2017

A bill passed in 2017 requires the court to appoint counsel when a defendant is held in contempt for failure to comply with a repayment plan.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Involuntary Medical Treatment

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to appointed counsel for involuntary outpatient treatment, regardless of indigence.

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.

Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children have a right to counsel in intrafamily adoptions.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A child has a right to counsel in termination of parental rights cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

Parents are entitled to counsel in some adoption circumstances and may be provided counsel in others.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent parents are entitled to counsel in termination of parental rights proceedings, including potentially the appeal.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

An appellate court found a state and federal due process right to counsel in termination cases, although the decision is in some question.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Truancy - Petition Against Child

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children have a right to counsel in truancy cases (which are treated as family in need of supervision matters).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Other Subject Areas

Legislation

Right to counsel - student making terroristic threat

06/02/2018

A bill passed in 2018 requires the appointment of counsel for a student subjected to mental health evaluation after making a terroristic threat.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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