Where We've Been, Where We're Going: A Look at the Status of the Civil Right to Counsel, and Current Efforts
26 MIE Journal 29 (2012)
5 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2015
Date Written: 2012
In 2006 the American Bar Association (ABA) unanimously adopted a resolution (112A) urging “federal, state, and territorial governments to provide legal counsel as a matter of right at public expense to low income persons in those categories of adversarial proceedings where basic human needs are at stake, such as those involving shelter, sustenance, safety, health or child custody, as determined by each jurisdiction.” Resolution 112A is an apt summary of what is sought by the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC), an informal association spanning thirty-five states and including over 230 participants.
This article elaborates upon a presentation made at the NCCRC’s first-ever full-day conference in December 2011 about the status of the civil right to counsel and current efforts. The article will show that while there is a long road ahead of us before we meet the goals of this aspirational resolution, there is cause for true optimism, given the breadth and diversity of efforts being undertaken across the country to advance the right to counsel in civil cases as well as some of the gains already achieved.
Keywords: civil right to counsel, Gideon, ABA
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