This page lists all of the most recent developments on civil right to counsel across the country. These could be newly created rights to counsel, significant publications, public events, advocacy efforts, or other things that don't fit into a neat category.
Legislation (dead): child counsel in termination cases
This bill would have required a child's appointed counsel to continues past TPR until permanent placement has been finalized.
MA high court: parents have right to counsel in private child guardianship establishment and modification proceedings
The Supreme Judicial Court of MA held there is a constitutional right to counsel in proceedings to establish or modify a child guardianship.
Nebraska authorizes appointment of counsel in civil forfeiture cases
A new law authorizes appointment of counsel for a person (other than the defendant) claiming an interest in property subject to forfeiture.
Wisconsin legislature creates access to civil legal services study committee
The Wisconsin legislature created a study committee to examine how to expand access to counsel in civil cases.
Mississippi finally authorizes appointment of counsel in termination of parental rights cases
In 2016, the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill authorizing judges to appoint counsel for parents in termination of parental rights cases.
TX Sup. Ct: parental right to counsel in abuse/neglect cases extends to high court appeal
The Supreme Court of Texas held that a parent's right to counsel in child welfare cases extends to an appeal to the high court.
TX Sup Ct: parental right to counsel in termination cases extends to high court appeal
The Supreme Court of Texas held that a parent's right to counsel in termination of parental rights cases extends to an appeal to the high court.
AP story featuring right to counsel, NCCRC picked up by Washington Post and NYTimes
A story by the Associated Press features civil right to counsel legislation across the country and the NCCRC.
Fed gov't agencies warn state courts about right to counsel obligations
The Department of Justice and Office of Child Support Enforcement have reminded state courts about the right to counsel for some civil matters.
Bills on civil right to counsel dominate 2016 legislative sessions
Over two dozen bills that would establish or expand rights to counsel in civil cases have been filed in state legislatures across the country.
CT Chief Justice, State Bar President cite importance of civil right to counsel
The incoming CT State Bar President and the CT Supreme Court Chief Justice say a civil right to counsel must be examined.
NY extends right to counsel to non-respondent parents
A 2015 bill extended the right to counsel in abuse/neglect proceedings to non-respondent parents who appear in court.
Philadelphia Bar Chancellor Joins Chorus for Civil Right to Counsel
New Philadelphia Bar Chancellor Gaetan Alfano has said that civil right to counsel will be a priority during his term.
NCCRC participates in DOJ/White House meeting on debtor's prison
The NCCRC joined a December meeting convened by the Department of Justice and the White House about the rise of debtor's prisons.
Study: detained immigrants 5.5x more likely to prevail with lawyer
A comprehensive study concluded that detained immigrants are 5.5 times more likely to avoid removal if they have a lawyer.
Nat'l Center for State Courts: 3/4 of civil cases have one unrepresented party
A report by the National Center for State Courts reveals that at least three-quarters of all civil cases involve at least one pro se party.
NH Supreme Court rejects attempt to truncate parental right to counsel
The NH Supreme Court rejected a proposed rule change that would have truncated a parent's right to counsel in dependency (abuse/neglect) cases.
WA State Bar: kids should have right to counsel in dependency proceedings
The Washington State Bar Association passed a resolution urging the state to guarantee lawyers for children in dependency (abuse/neglect) cases.
Missouri court: parents must be informed of right to counsel
A Missouri appellate court found that courts must tell parents they have a right to request appointment of counsel.
New Hampshire restores, protects right to counsel for parents in abuse/neglect proceedings
In 2013, the legislature restored the right to counsel for parents in abuse/neglect cases, and the NH Supreme Court has acted to protect it.
Florida SCT: right to counsel in termination proceedings survived SCOTUS opinion
The Florida Supreme Court upheld the due process right to counsel for indigent parents in termination proceedings, rejecting SCOTUS precedent.
UNC Law School human rights report flags lack of right to counsel in civil cases
A new report by UNC Law School explains how lack of a civil right to counsel violates international human rights law.
Texas decriminalizes truancy, adds appointment of counsel provision
In 2015, Texas decriminalized truancy, prevented initial incarceration, and permitted the court to appoint counsel for the child.
NY Legislature first to declare support for civil right to counsel principles
The NY Senate and House passed a concurrent resolution supporting the concept of universal representation in basic human needs civil cases.
Texas enacts law expanding right to counsel for parents
A Texas law enacted in 2015 provides for appointment of counsel for unknown/unlocatable parents and provides earlier notice to other parents.
Missouri debtor's prison case, including right to counsel claim, moves forward
A federal case alleging the City of Ferguson is jailing indigent debtors without a hearing or counsel has survived a motion to dismiss.
Mississippi pilots show significant benefit of counsel in child welfare cases
A recent Mississippi study showed that parents benefit significantly when given access to legal counsel.
Other countries to U.S.: provide counsel in civil proceedings
During a periodic review of the U.S. by the U.N. Human Rights Council, countries urged the U.S. to provide counsel in certain civil cases.
Fed court: counsel must be appointed earlier in child welfare process
A federal court found that a South Dakota court's practice of not appointing counsel at 48-hour child removal hearings violated due process.
MA Supreme Court: parents have a right to counsel in abuse/neglect cases
The MA high court has said that the constitutional right to counsel applies to abuse/neglect cases.