National Resources and Web Sites
The National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC) was formed in 2003 to facilitate collaboration among advocates nationwide and provide training, research and other support to legal services programs, bar associations, law schools, private law firms, and others in their local efforts to establish a civil right to counsel. The NCCRC maintains a web site that provides background information about the civil Gideon movement as well as articles, resources and other information about current litigation, legislation and related efforts and strategies nationwide to expand the right to civil counsel. The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants (SCLAID) is available here. The National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA), Civil Resources is available here. The Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law, is available here.
The Wisconsin Right to Counsel Task Force is available here. The Self-Represented Litigation Network is available here.
Resolutions and Reports from American Bar Association
The American Bar Association (ABA) Civil Right to Counsel Resolution 112A and Report are available here.
The ABA State Model Access Act Report and Recommendations are available here and the ABA Basic Principles for a Right to Counsel in Civil Legal Matters Report and Recommendations are available here.
Resolutions and Reports from State Bar Associations
The Boston Bar Association’s Civil Right to Counsel Task Force produced a Report, Gideon’s New Trumpet: Expanding the Civil Right to Counsel in Massachusetts (2008), which is available here. The Pennsylvania Bar Association's Legal Services to the Public Committee Resolution in Support of Recognizing a Right to Counsel For Indigent Individuals in Certain Civil Cases (2007), is available here. This Resolution sets forth a list of the known civil cases in which court appointed counsel is required in Pennsylvania. The Resolution also cites an extensive list of states and the most common substantive areas where some level of right to counsel has been identified by statute, as well as the status of Civil Gideon activities in selected states. Currently, Pennsylvania provides a right to court-appointed counsel for indigent people in a limited number of civil proceedings, which include child dependency cases, termination of parental rights, paternity, civil commitment proceedings for sexually violent delinquent children, and involuntary commitment pursuant to the Mental Health Procedures Act. The creation of the right to counsel in these cases was achieved through litigation or legislative action.
California Civil Counsel Act
On October 12, 2009, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law California AB 590, known as the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act, which establishes a six-year pilot project to expand the provision of counsel in selected counties for low-income people in cases involving child custody, housing, elder abuse, and conservatorships. The project is scheduled to become operational during the summer of 2011. A copy of the bill is available here.