Pennsylvania

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.

Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent parents have a right to counsel in abuse/neglect cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children in abuse/neglect cases are entitled to a GAL who is an attorney.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

All Basic Human Needs

Legislation

Pennsylvania hearings on civil legal aid discuss right to counsel

01/01/2013

The PA Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings in 2013 about the civil legal justice gap, and many people testified about a right to counsel.

Read more about this

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of cousel

A lower court held that incorporated English common law gave the court the power to appoint counsel in any civil case.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Bar Effort

Philadelphia Bar Chancellor Joins Chorus for Civil Right to Counsel

12/09/2015

New Philadelphia Bar Chancellor Gaetan Alfano has said that civil right to counsel will be a priority during his term.

Read more about this

Report

PA urged to take steps towards a civil right to counsel

05/02/2014

A new report issued by the Civil Legal Justice Coalition to the PA State Senate Judiciary Committee urges PA to pursue a civil right to counsel.

Read more about this

Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A minor has a right to counsel in seeking to bypass parental consent to have an abortion.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for the subject of a civil commitment proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Litigation

Right to counsel

Two PA courts have suggested that counsel is constitutionally required in civil commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Civil Forfeiture

Legislation

Legislation: civil forfeiture

04/12/2017

A bill would provide a right to counsel for certain owners in civil forfeiture proceedings.

Read more about this

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A lower court stated that there may be a right to counsel in certain civil forfeiture proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Custody Disputes - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel for a child in a private custody proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

Read more about this

Court Rule or Initiative

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court may appoint counsel for the child in various kinds of private custody proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

Read more about this

Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

There is discretionary appointment of counsel for the subject of a guardianship, and mandatory if the person is in a state mental hospital.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

Read more about this

Housing - Evictions

Legislation

Everything about the Philly City Council resolution for housing right to counsel hearings

03/20/2017

The Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution authorizing hearings on solving landlord/tenant issues, including looking at right to counsel.

Read more about this

Involuntary Medical Treatment

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Minors have a right to appointed counsel when being subjected to involuntary drug or alcohol treatment.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Paternity - Defendant/Respondent

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Several lower courts found a federal constitutional right to counsel for respondents in state-initiated paternity cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Sexually Dangerous Persons - Commitment

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

There is a right to counsel for indigent respondents in sexually violent person commitment proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children have a right to counsel in contested adoption cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Children have a right to counsel in termination of parental rights cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

PA Supreme Court: children have right to counsel in termination proceedings

03/28/2017

The PA Supreme Court held that children have a right to the appointment of client-directed counsel in termination proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon The NCCRC worked with the petitioner and collaborated on an amicus brief.

Read more about this

Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent parents have a right to counsel in contested adoption cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Litigation

Right to counsel

The PA Supreme Court found a due process right to counsel in private termination of parental rights cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Indigent parents have a right to counsel in termination of parental rights cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

Read more about this

Litigation

Pennsylvania court: denial of counsel in termination case is reversible

05/20/2016

A Pennsylvania court reversed a termination of parental rights decision where the parent had been denied her right to appointed counsel.

Read more about this

Right to counsel

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found a due process right to counsel in termination of parental rights cases, although case is in some doubt.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

Read more about this

Go back to Status Map