North Carolina

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 have a right to counsel in abuse/neglect cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children are entitled to a guardian ad litem who is an attorney in abuse/neglect cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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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 indigent subject of a vulnerable adult proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel upon request for a minor seeking to bypass the parental consent requirement for an abortion.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Civil Contempt in Family Court

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The North Carolina Supreme Court found a due process right to counsel 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

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

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The indigent subject of a guardianship proceeding is entitled to an appointed attorney, but that attorney serves in a GAL role.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Incarceration for Fees/Fines (incomplete)

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The North Carolina Supreme Court found a due process 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

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The court may appoint counsel for those subjected to involuntary outpatient treatment.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Paternity - Defendant/Respondent

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The North Carolina Supreme Court suggested it might find a right to counsel on a case-by-case basis in paternity proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Quarantine/Inoculation

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for the indigent subject of a quarantine proceeding.

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 where a guardian seeks to sterilize his or her ward (which is the only scenario where sterilization is authorized).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel for a child in a contested adoption case.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

Read more about this

Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children have a right to an attorney-GAL in a termination of parental rights proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

The North Carolina Supreme Court held that children are entitled to counsel in certain situations for termination of parental rights cases.

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 have a right to counsel in termination of parental rights cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Truancy - Petition Against Child

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

An indigent child in North Carolina only has a right to counsel in truancy cases in certain situations.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Other Subject Areas

Legislation

Right to counsel - minors marrying

Minors seeking to marry have a right to counsel.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

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