Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

While Ariz. Stat. § 8-221(B) specifies that the court shall appoint an attorney for the juvenile if indiegent, § 8-221(A) states, "In all proceedings involving . . . dependency or termination of parental rights that are conducted pursuant to this title and that may result in detention, a juvenile has the right to be represented by counsel" (emphasis added). As a termination of parental rights case will never result in detention for the juvenile, it is unclear what the legislature intended with this provision. Additionally, § 8-221(I) specifies, "In all juvenile court proceedings in which the dependency petition includes an allegation that the juvenile is abused or neglected, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to protect the juvenile's best interests. This guardian may be an attorney or a court appointed special advocate."   Given that subsection (I) empowers the court to appoint a GAL who is not an attorney, this provision likely does not override the requirements of subsection (B).


In a permanent guardianship proceeding within the context of the child welfare code, the court may appoint counsel for the child if a guardian ad litem has not been appointed.  Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-872(D).  However, upon the motion to appoint a permanent successor guardian to the original permanent guardian, Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 8-874(C)(2) specifies that the court shall ”Appoint an attorney for the child and appoint an attorney for the proposed successor guardian, if necessary.”

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes