New York Officials Push Right to Counsel in Civil Cases

New York officials are seeking to increase funding to provide poor people with free legal services in civil proceedings such as eviction and immigration matters

News Story (New York)

Rebecca Davis-O’Brien
Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
April 5, 2015
Link to story

Tags: Civil Right to Counsel, Courts, Funding: State & Local

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society (New York City)


The newly approved state budget, allocated $85 million for indigent civil legal services at the request of the state judiciary, an increase of $15 million from the previous fiscal year.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recommended in his preliminary budget proposal spending $36 million on free legal services in housing court, which would bring the city’s total spending on civil legal services up to about $50 million.

A majority of City Council members have signed onto a bill requiring free counsel for indigent defendants in eviction cases. If passed, it would be the first such mandate in the country. A separate bill introduced last week would establish the Mayor’s Office of Civil Justice to oversee the city’s civil legal services.