Advocates promote a right to counsel in civil cases, too

A growing movement is promoting a right to counsel in critical cases that involve housing, child custody and domestic violence.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Erin Gordon
ABA Journal
February 7, 2018

Tags: Civil Right to Counsel

Organizations mentioned/involved: National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel (NCCRC)


In an effort to narrow the justice gap for low-income, unrepresented litigants in these types of civil cases, California superior courts have begun to collaborate with pro bono programs. Funded by the Sargent Shriver Civil Counsel Act, the California pilot began in 2011 and has served about 27,000 people facing home loss, child custody disputes, or a critical need for guardianship or conservatorship.

“Shriver was a real watershed moment, legislatively,” Pollock says, because it significantly expanded civil representation through government funding, rather than foundations.