Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1503007
 
 

Footnotes (151)



 


 



Keeping Families Together, Saving Money, and Other Motivations Behind New Civil Right to Counsel Laws


Laura Abel


Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, National Center for Access to Justice

December 2009

Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Vol. 42, p. 1087, 2009
NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 09-67

Abstract:     
Several states have a statutory civil right to counsel in certain types of cases, but the legislative intent that led to the passage of these statutes has received little attention until now. Although many of these statutes concern child welfare — for example, keeping children out of foster care when possible — there is no reason to believe that a legislature’s willingness to expand or improve the right to counsel is necessarily limited to the child welfare arena. In passing these statutes, legislators were motivated by expectations of financial savings, a desire to fix failing state child welfare bureaucracies, and notions of fundamental fairness. These statutes bundled the civil right to counsel with larger pieces of societal reform legislation as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. Legislatures often provide funding for specific types of civil legal aid that have been shown to save government money or to have other beneficial effects. There are statutes providing for a right to counsel in cases concerning civil commitment, mandatory medical treatment, paternity, and other types of legal disputes. Civil right to counsel legislation may be more likely to succeed if it is part of broader legislation aimed at solving a social problem than if it is proposed as a stand-alone bill that lacks the same level of support. An examination of the civil right to counsel legislation as it pertains to child welfare reveals that there is no single path to success because varying political climates mean that a statute or political strategy that succeeds in one place may not succeed in another. Understanding the legislative motivations that led to the enactment of these statutes can prove useful to advocates who seek the expansion of the civil right to counsel.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 31

Keywords: Civil Gideon, right to counsel, legislative history, American Bar Association

JEL Classification: I3, K1, K4, I18, 13, J18

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: November 12, 2009 ; Last revised: March 17, 2010

Suggested Citation

Abel, Laura, Keeping Families Together, Saving Money, and Other Motivations Behind New Civil Right to Counsel Laws (December 2009). Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Vol. 42, p. 1087, 2009; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 09-67. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1503007

Contact Information

Laura Abel (Contact Author)
Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, National Center for Access to Justice ( email )
55 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10003
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.ncforaj.org

Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 751
Downloads: 142
Download Rank: 120,531
Footnotes:  151

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo7 in 0.235 seconds