RESOLUTION TO COSPONSOR THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION'S RESOLUTIONS ADOPTING THE PROPOSED ABA MODEL ACCESS ACT AND ABA BASIC PRINCIPLES OF A RIGHT TO COUNSEL IN CIVIL LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

WHEREAS, in 2005-2006, American Bar Association President Michael Greco formed the ABA Presidential Task Force on Access to Justice in Civil Cases (“ABA Task Force”) to study and recommend whether a proposed resolution should be introduced to support the provision of counsel as a matter of right at public expense to low income persons in certain adversarial proceedings where basic human needs are at stake; and

WHEREAS, in Spring 2006, the ABA Task Force recommended that the ABA House of Delegates approve a proposed resolution, as follows:

RESOLVED: That the American Bar Association urges state, territorial and federal jurisdictions to provide 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; and

WHEREAS, in May 2006, the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association approved a resolution in support of the ABA Task Force resolution and recommendation, and the Philadelphia Bar Association was listed as one of the original co-sponsors of the ABA resolution; and

WHEREAS, the ABA Task Force resolution, Resolution 112A, was adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in August 2006; and

WHEREAS, in September 2007, the Pennsylvania Bar Association adopted a resolution urging the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to provide legal counsel as a matter of right to low income persons in those categories of adversarial proceedings where basic human needs are at stake; and

WHEREAS, the September 2007 Pennsylvania Bar Association resolution cited 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; and

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Association convened a Civil Right to Counsel discussion in April 2008 held in Philadelphia to address the implications of recognizing a Civil Gideon right and implementing that right; and

WHEREAS, in early 2009 Chancellor Sayde Ladov appointed a Task Force On Civil Gideon (the “Task Force”) and on April 30,2009 the Board of Governors unanimously endorsed a Resolution Calling For The Provision Of Legal Counsel For Indigent Persons In Civil Matters Where Basic Human Needs Are At Stake; and

WHEREAS, the April 30, 2009 Resolution charged the Task Force with investigating and considering all aspects of an effective system of Civil Gideon, and with preparing and submitting a report and recommendations to the Board of Governors; and

WHEREAS, in November 2009, the Task Force submitted its Preliminary Report, Findings and Recommendations (“Preliminary Report”) to the Chancellor and the Board of Governors and on November 19, 2009, the Board of Governors unanimously adopted the Preliminary Report and authorized the Task Force to continue its work building on the Preliminary Report through calendar year 2010; and

WHEREAS, in May 2010, the ABA Working Group on Civil Right to Counsel distributed two reports, namely, a report with recommendations relating to a proposed ABA Model Access Act and a report with recommendations relating to proposed ABA Basic Principles of a Right to Counsel in Civil Legal Proceedings (collectively, the “Model Access Act and Basic Principles”) to those states and localities addressing the topic of Civil Gideon and invited those jurisdictions to cosponsor proposed ABA resolutions in support of the proposed Model Access Act and Basic Principles; and

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association Task Force has reviewed and discussed the drafts of the Model Access Act and Basic Principles and determined that both the Act and the Basic Principles appropriately set forth the underlying principles for a right to counsel in certain civil proceedings both on a national level and in Pennsylvania, while leaving appropriate discretion and flexibility to the states and localities to determine the precise reach and implementation of Civil Gideon in their jurisdictions; and

WHEREAS, the Task Force believes that adoption of the Model Access Act and Basic Principles is consistent with the Philadelphia Bar Association’s May 2006 resolution in support of the 2006 ABA Task Force Report, as well as the Association’s April 30, 2009 and November 19, 2009 resolutions creating the Association’s Task Force and adopting its initial report, respectively, and

WHEREAS, the Task Force recognizes that enactment of the Model Access Act in Pennsylvania will require some level of funding to implement its provisions, and that therefore, the Task Force reserves the right to recommend in the future that certain funding provisions be included if, and when, the Model Act is considered for enactment in Pennsylvania; and

WHEREAS, the Task Force believes that ABA resolutions proposing adoption of the Model Access Act and Basic Principles, if adopted by the ABA House of Delegates, will substantially advance the work of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Task Force, and that the Philadelphia Bar Association should be listed as a co-sponsor of the ABA Model Access Act;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association hereby authorizes the Association to be a cosponsor of the proposed ABA resolutions as set forth above;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor or his designee is authorized to communicate the Philadelphia Bar Association’s position as set forth herein and to take any other action in furtherance of this resolution as may be appropriate and necessary.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: May 25, 2010