South 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

Discretionary appointment of counsel

For children in abuse/neglect cases, appointment of a guardian ad litem is mandatory but appointment of counsel is discretionary.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary 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 subject of an adult protective services proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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All Basic Human Needs

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

An appellate court, later affirmed by the high court, held that trial courts have the inherent power to appoint counsel in any civil case.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary 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 parental consent for an abortion.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for subjects of civil commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

New South Carolina law requires separate counsel in guardianship proceedings

05/16/2017

A 2017 law requires appointment of counsel and a guardian ad litem in guardianship cases, rather than counsel acting as a GAL.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Quarantine/Inoculation

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel - quarantine

There is a right to counsel for subjects of quarantine or isolation.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Sexually Dangerous Persons - Commitment

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel in South Carolina sexually violent predator commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

South Carolina Sup. Ct.: right to counsel in sex offender commitment cases

02/16/2017

The Supreme Court of South Carolina held there is a constitutional right to appointed counsel in sex offender commitment cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

Children may be appointed an attorney in termination of parental rights cases in certain circumstances.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

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Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

South Carolina court extends statutory right to counsel to private TPR cases

06/03/2013

The SC Supreme Court held that S.C. Code § 63–7–2560 does not distinguish between public and private termination cases, so it applies to both.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The South Carolina Supreme Court has said that the constitutional right to counsel in termination cases is on a case-by-case basis.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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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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Litigation

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The South Carolina Supreme Court has said that the constitutional right to counsel in termination cases is on a case-by-case basis.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Truancy - Petition Against Child

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel for a child in a truancy proceeding (which is treated as a status offense).

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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