Texas judges who are considering appointing counsel in civil cases can now consult the ABA Directory of Law Governing Appointment of Counsel in State Civil Proceedings. The directory, released by the American Bar Association in 2014 with the assistance of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel, provides state-by-state guidance on when judges must, can, and can’t appoint counsel in various types of civil cases based on state statutes, court decisions, and court rules.
According to John Pollock, coordinator of the NCCRC and staff attorney at the Public Justice Center in Baltimore, Maryland, the publication is unique in how it addresses every civil subject area and provides state-specific details.
“If a judge is presented with the question of whether to appoint counsel for an indigent litigant, either because the litigant raises it or the judge sua sponte considers it, he or she can check the appropriate subject area section,” said Pollock. “If there’s no law on the subject, the judge could look at the entries for sister states and see what those states have done. Plus some state statutes and court decisions authorize judges to appoint counsel for any civil case, so the directory talks about that, too.”
For more information, including Texas-relevant content, go to the full directory.