Deconstructing the Right to Counsel

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American Constitution Society

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In this American Constitution Society (ACS) Issue Brief, Lucas explores the civil right to counsel as it applies to pro se litigants bringing or defending against claims in the areas of “basic human need,” such as shelter, sustenance, safety, health and child custody. She contends that, rather than focusing on the formal requirement of counsel, the right should be distilled down to its core elements, exploring the role counsel is intended to serve and why it is needed in civil cases. By deconstructing the right to counsel in this manner, Lucas sets forth a framework for evaluating the non-counsel alternative proposals emerging from the recent civil right to counsel debate that could potentially lay the groundwork for a newly formulated, more substantive version of the civil right to counsel.

Recommended Citation

Lauren Sudeall Lucas, Deconstructing the Right to Counsel, American Constitution Society (July 2014), available at http://www.acslaw.org/sites/default/files/Lucas_-_Deconstructing_the_Right_to_Counsel.pdf.