New study committee on access to civil legal services

A new Study Committee on Access to Civil Legal Services was recently launched by the Wisconsin Legislative Council. The 16-member committee includes 6 legislators and 10 public members, including Jim Gramling, President of the Access to Justice Commission. The chair is Rep. Cody Horlacher and the vice-chair is Sen. Duey Stroebel. A full roster is available here. The study committee was created in response to a unanimous powerful request from the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The committee’s charge is “to review the …

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Final order on civil right to counsel petition

donsutherland1 /Free Photos The Wisconsin Supreme Court has released its final order denying Petition 10-08. The justices voted last month to deny to petition. Petition supporters asked for a new rule that would have required circuit court judges to appoint counsel at public expense for indigent litigants in many civil cases where basic human needs were at stake. Citing uncertainty about the scope and cost of the proposal, the court declined to adopt the proposed rule. The justices also noted …

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Commission appoints work group for Wisconsin civil right to counsel project

O.F.E. /Foter The Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission has appointed a special working group to develop a formal proposal for a study that would evaluate the costs and benefits of providing counsel to low income individuals in some civil legal matters where basic human needs are at stake.  Initial members of the working group are Commission members Gregg Moore, Don Friske, John Ebbott, Deedee Rongstad and  Judge Margaret Vergeront as well as the Director of State Courts, John …

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Wisconsin Supreme Court takes no action on civil right to counsel petition

The Wisconsin Supreme Court held an open administrative conference on Monday, October 17, to discuss how it should respond to Petition 10-08 following the all-day hearing on the petition was held on October 4. The petition seeks creation of a new court rule that would lead to the appointment of counsel in many more civil cases in Wisconsin. At the administrative conference there was not a majority of justices who supported moving forward on the proposal as set out in the petition. However, only two justices indicated that they would deny the petition outright.

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Commission testifies in support of a civil right to counsel

At Tuesday’s hearing in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the Access to Justice Commission reiterated its support for a new rule that would lead more Circuit Court judges to appoint attorneys for indigent Wisconsin residents in certain civil court cases. As Professor Marsha Mansfield noted on behalf of the Commission, this is an issue of fundamental fairness, because there are “people who really do need the help of a lawyer in order to successfully present their case: not win or lose but just to be a able to fully develop the facts or law necessary to have a full decision rendered.”

Commission supports a civil right to counsel

At their meeting today, the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission voted unanimously to adopt the following statement: “The Access to Justice Commission emphatically endorses the right to legal counsel for low income Wisconsin residents when basic human needs are at stake, as embodied in Petition 10-08, Petition to Establish a Right to Counsel in Civil Cases, and as found in American Bar Association Recommendation 112A, dated August 7, 2006, which has been adopted by the Board …

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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 …

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