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ABA acts on civil right to counsel

The ABA House of Delegates voted on Tuesday to adopt two key documents supporting a limited statutory civil right to counsel for the poor in cases where basic human needs are at stake. One of the resolutions was a set of principles that could serve as a guide as states approach this issue. The second was a Model Act intended to serve as a framework for states in drafting actual legislation to implement a limited civil right to counsel. This important issue has been a subject of discussion at the two most recent Commission meetings and these new resources will help the Commission as it develops its plans for the future.  Pilot programs involving a limited civil right to counsel are underway in California, Massachusetts and Texas.  The program in California was created by statute and is publicly funded.