New York

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

NY extends right to counsel to non-respondent parents

01/01/2016

A 2015 bill extended the right to counsel in abuse/neglect proceedings to non-respondent parents who appear in court.

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Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for indigent parents in abuse/neglect proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

The New York Court of Appeals held that indigent parents have a due process and equal protection right to counsel in abuse/neglect cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Minors have a right to counsel in abuse/neglect proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

An intermediate court held that children are constitutionally entitled to counsel in abuse/neglect cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Adult Protective Proceedings - Proposed Ward

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for the subjects of an adult protective proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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All Basic Human Needs

Legislation

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

06/18/2015

The NY Senate and House passed a concurrent resolution supporting the concept of universal representation in basic human needs civil cases.

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Discretionary appointment of counsel

The court may appoint counsel for a member of the military who does not appear in any civil matter.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

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Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel for any party in any civil matter.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Litigation

NY appellate ct: trial court erred in imputing income for appointed counsel decision

03/23/2018

An appellate court in New York held that trial courts cannot impute income in determining whether a person is entitled to appointed counsel.

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Court Rule or Initiative

NY civil legal aid hearings invoke right to counsel

01/01/2013

At hearings convened by NY Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, advocates testified about the justice gap and civil right to counsel.

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Miscellaneous

Former NY Chief Judge calls for constitutional convention on civil right to counsel

09/28/2016

Former NY Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has called for New York to hold a constitutional convention on the right to counsel in civil cases.

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Benefits - Claimant

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A person who successfully pursues an unemployment insurance claim has the right to appointed counsel on appeal.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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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.

Civil Contempt in Family Court

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for indigent respondents facing contempt and incarceration in family court.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

Various New York courts have found a constitutional right to counsel in certain types of 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

There is a right to counsel for the subject of various kinds of civil commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

The state high court has found a right to counsel for a committed person seeking to be released.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Custody Disputes - Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for all parents in private custody disputes.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel - custodial guardianship of child

A lower court found a constitutional right to counsel in the proceeding to establish custodial guardianship of a child.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Custody Disputes - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

Children may be appointed counsel in private custody proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

Read more about this

Domestic Violence - Accused Person

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for either party in a domestic violence proceeding under Article 8, including for the appeal.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Domestic Violence - Alleged Victim

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for either party in a domestic violence proceeding under Article 8, including for the appeal.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Legislation

Legislation: guardianships of adults with developmental disabilities

06/13/2017

These NY bills would establish a right to counsel for adults with developmental disabilities in guardianship proceedings.

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Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for the proposed ward in an Article 81 guardianship proceeding in certain circumstances.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

NY court: wards have constitutional right to counsel in Art. 17-A guardianship proceedings

10/03/2016

A NY Surrogate's Court held that proposed wards have a constitutional right to counsel in Article 17-A guardianship cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a due process right to counsel for guardianship cases where the guardian seeks to commit the person or make major medical decisions.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Housing - Discrimination

Court Rule or Initiative

NY Chief Judge calls for counsel in all foreclosure cases

06/03/2013

NY Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has said he wants there to be an attorney in every foreclosure case in the state.

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Housing - Evictions

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

NYC first jurisdiction to guarantee counsel for evictions, looks to expand

11/14/2018

NYC is the first jurisdiction in the country to establish a right to counsel for low-income tenants in eviction cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon

NCCRC helped assemble the NYC coalition, spoke at the Dec 5 event, and worked on the SRR report.

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Housing - General

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel for defendants in military

A lower court suggested that under federal constitutional law, counsel is required when the defendant in an eviction is in the military.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Immigration

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

New York State to provide counsel for all detained immigrants facing deportation

08/01/2017

In a groundbreaking step, New York State will be providing counsel to all detained immigrants facing removal.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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New York City holds hearings on providing counsel to immigrants

02/25/2014

The New York City Council's Committee on Immigration held public hearings on different models for providing counsel in immigration cases.

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Pilot

All about the NYC Family Unity Immigration Representation Program

09/01/2016

New York City has created an innovative project for providing counsel for detainees in immigration cases.

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Report

Report finds right to counsel in immigration would pay for itself

05/29/2014

A report commissioned by the NYC Bar finds that an immigration right to counsel would pay for itself.

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Incarceration for Fees/Fines (incomplete)

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Various New York courts have found a constitutional right to counsel in civil contempt proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Involuntary Medical Treatment

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

right to counsel

NY statutory law provides a right to counsel to challenge medical treatment decisions.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The New York Court of Appeals held a committed patient has a state constitutional right to counsel to dispute treatment decisions.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Paternity - Defendant/Respondent

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

An indigent respondent has a right to counsel in paternity proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

A few New York courts have found a due process right to counsel for respondents in paternity proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Quarantine/Inoculation

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A New York appellate court found a due process right to counsel for involuntary quarantine.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Sexually Dangerous Persons - Commitment

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for indigent respondents in sex offender commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Sexually Dangerous Persons - Registration/Notification

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to appointed counsel for a sex offender in a registration classification hearing.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children are entitled to counsel in adoption proceedings involving a contested revocation of consent.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

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

Read more about this

Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for indigent parents in contested adoption proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for parents in termination of parental rights proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Litigation

Right to counsel

A New York Court of Appeals case finding a right to counsel in abuse/neglect has been extended to termination proceedings by a different court.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for parents in state-initiated termination of parental rights cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Truancy - Petition Against Child

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

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

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Other Subject Areas

Legislation

Discretionary appointment of counsel - standby guardianships

06/28/2018

A court may appoint counsel for a child when petition by a standby guardian to assume custody is filed.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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New NY law requires appointment of counsel for minors seeking to marry

06/20/2017

A bill passed in 2017 requires a court to appoint counsel for a seventeen year old seeking judicial permission to marry.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

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