Reflections on a Civil Right to Counsel and Drawing Lines: When Does Access to Justice Mean Full Representation by Counsel, and When Might Less Assistance Suffice?
Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 5 Nov 2012
Date Written: July 16, 2010
This essay explores one of the most difficult questions in the civil right to counsel movement: assuming there is an expanded right, who benefits? Which cases, which clients, and under what circumstances? As the essay will reveal, the challenges are nothing new, dating to the early writings regarding a civil right to counsel. Nor is the line drawing unique to the civil side, since the doctrine has evolved on the criminal side as well. The essay will discuss an array of proposals that have emerged with a focus on the line-drawing along the way. The article will discuss not only lines that might need to be drawn in a final landscape that enhances access to justice, but lines that might need to be drawn in the short term to lay the groundwork for progress in the fight to expand access to counsel.
Keywords: Civil Right to Counsel, Civil Gideon
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