Georgia

This page provides a breakdown of all major developments and right to counsel law that the NCCRC knows for this state, sorted by subject area. Click on either tab below to see the aspect it describes.

Color Key Explanation
Categorical Right To Counsel There is a right to counsel without qualification for all indigent individuals in this type of case (except that the individual may be required to request counsel).
Discretionary Appointment Of Counsel Courts are permitted but not required to appoint counsel for any indigent individual in this type of case. A request may be required.
Right Or Appointment Is Qualified The established right to counsel or discretionary appointment of counsel is limited in some way, including: the only authority comes from a lower/intermediate court decision or a city government, not a high court or state legislature; a case has cast doubt on prior authority; a statute is ambiguous; or the right or discretionary appointment is not for all individuals or proceedings within that type of case.
No Such Proceeding This state has no law creating a judicial proceeding of this type.
No Authorization, But Relevant Materials While this state does not provide for or require appointment of counsel with respect to the given subject area, it does have something (such as a report or bar policy) that supports the right to or appointment of counsel for this subject area.
Other Because the "Other subject areas” category can include developments from different subject areas that do not work the same way as each other, a blanket categorization of this category is not possible.

Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

Legislation

New Georgia law protects parents' right to counsel

05/08/2018

Waiver of a parent's right to counsel in child welfare cases now has to be knowing, voluntary, and intelligent, thanks to new legislation.

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon

The NCCRC identified the issue and worked with advocates on introduction of the bill.

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Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent parents have a right to counsel in deprivation proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Georgia expands right to counsel to children in deprivation cases who are receiving extended care youth services

05/01/2023

Kids have a right to their own counsel due to a 2013 amendment. In 2023, the RTC was extended to kids receiving extended care youth services.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Federal court rules Georgia children have right to counsel in deprivation cases

01/01/2005

A federal court found that the Georgia Constitution requires counsel for children in deprivation cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Adult Protective Proceedings - Protected Person (incomplete)

Legislation

No such proceeding

Although no right to counsel for protected persons could be located, the department cannot provide protective services without consent.

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Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor (Pre-Dobbs)

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Minors seeking to bypass the parental notification requirement for an abortion have a right to counsel.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Civil Contempt in Family Court

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

GA high court says some civil contempt cases might require counsel

09/01/2014

In response to a class action, the Supreme Court of Georgia said there might be a right to counsel in some child support civil contempt cases.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

 

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The NCCRC assisted petitioners with research and strategy.

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Civil Commitment

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for respondents in civil commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Protected Person

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel in guardianship establishment and review matters, as well as in conservatorship terminations and some modifications.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Involuntary Medical Treatment (incomplete)

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to Counsel

Patients and proposed patients have the right to counsel in various involuntary outpatient treatment matters.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Quarantine/Isolation

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to Counsel

There is a right to counsel only when committed due to tuberculosis. In other situations it is discretionary or not available.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Sexually Dangerous Persons - Commitment

Legislation

No such proceeding

There is no procedure in the state for confinement of a sexually dangerous/violent person.

Sterilization

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

12/27/2020

There is an arguable right to appointed counsel in sterilization proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

All children are entitled to counsel in termination of parental rights proceedings, but the GAL can play the attorney role absent a conflict.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Federal court: GA children have state constitutional right to counsel in TPR cases

01/01/2005

A federal court found that the Georgia Constitution requires counsel for children in TPR cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent parents are entitled to counsel in termination proceedings if they make it known that they want counsel.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Truancy - Petition Against Child

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children have a right to appointed counsel in truancy proceedings, which are treated as a CHINS matter.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Other Subject Areas

Legislation

Right to counsel - minor emancipation

A court must appoint counsel for a minor seeking to be emancipated.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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