Washington

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

A statute provides counsel for indigent parents at all stages of the proceedings, including at the initial shelter care hearing.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

The WA Supreme Court found a right to counsel for indigent parents in abuse/neglect cases, although it has not reaffirmed it since Lassiter.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

Legislation

Legislation: child counsel in dependency cases

02/13/2017

These bills would have required counsel to be appointed for a child two years or older in a dependency proceeding.

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WA Legislature tweaks appointment of counsel for children

01/01/2010

A bill passed in 2010 requires children 12 years and older to be informed of their right to request counsel in dependency cases.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

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Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court can appoint counsel for children in child welfare cases, and must appoint in some situations.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

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Right to counsel

A statute provides that children subjected to extended foster care have a right to counsel in dependency proceedings related to that care.

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Litigation

WA court says child should have been appointed counsel

09/11/2017

A Washington Court of Appeals held that a trial court should have appointed counsel for a child in a dependency proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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WA Court of Appeals finds right to counsel for foster child

06/10/2014

The WA Court of Appeals held that a trial court abused its discretion in not appointing counsel for a minor child in a dependency proceeding.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon NCCRC helped with the briefing on the constitutional issues.

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Court Rule or Initiative

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The court must appoint counsel for indigent children in dependency cases if they do not have a GAL.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A local court rule for King County requires appointment of counsel for children 12 and older in dependency proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A local court rule for Hell's Canyon requires appointment of counsel for children in dependency proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Bar Effort

WA State Bar: kids should have right to counsel in dependency proceedings

10/17/2015

The Washington State Bar Association passed a resolution urging the state to guarantee lawyers for children in dependency (abuse/neglect) cases.

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Report

Report: whether Washington kids get counsel depends on where they live

08/26/2016

A report examines the situation in Washington State as to when children are appointed counsel in child welfare cases.

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All Basic Human Needs

Court Rule or Initiative

Key_development Question_mark

Washington State expands rule on counsel for litigants with disabilities to admin proceedings

08/02/2017

WA's Office of Administrative Hearings is adopting a rule for appointing counsel for litigants with mental disabilities in admin proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon The NCCRC gave input on the draft rule.

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Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment for those with disabilities

A court rule permits a court to appoint counsel for a person with disabilities as a reasonable accommodation.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

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Benefits - Claimant

Litigation

WA court orders appointment of counsel under ADA for admin proceeding

05/25/2015

A WA trial court ordered ADA counsel to be appointed for a disabled litigant in a hearing before the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon NCCRC provided some research assistance to one of the amici at the Court of Appeals level.

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Child Support Enforcement (Civil Contempt)

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The WA Supreme Court has held there is a federal and state constitutional right to counsel in civil contempt cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Civil Commitment - Subject of Petition

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A statute requires the appointment of counsel for indigent persons in civil commitment proceedings before and at the probable cause hearing.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

The WA Supreme Court held that mental commitment proceedings require appointment of counsel, but its statement was dicta.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Custody Disputes - Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

An appellate court found that a right to counsel could exist in certain kinds of custody proceedings pursuant to a statute.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Custody Disputes - Children

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A court can appoint counsel for a minor in certain custody proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Domestic Violence - Alleged Victim

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to assistance

By statute, in certain situations, the state must prosecute DV protection order violations on behalf of indigent victims.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Discretionary appointment of counsel

When an alleged victim is seeking a protective order, the court can appoint counsel for the victim if the respondent is represented.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Ward

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Court must appoint counsel for indigent respondents in guardianship cases.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Incarceration for Fees/Fines (incomplete)

Litigation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A Washington court has held there is a right to counsel in proceedings regarding enforcement of legal financial obligations (LFOs).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Paternity - Defendant/Respondent

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Discretionary appointment of counsel

A statute permits the state to pay fees for attorneys who represent children in actions under the Parentage Act.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no

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Litigation

Discretionary appointment of counsel

The Washington Court of Appeals held that a court may appoint counsel in a paternity ase.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: yes

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Sexually Dangerous Persons - Commitment

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A statute requires appointment of counsel for an indigent respondent at all stages of commitment as a sexually violent predator.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Court Rule or Initiative

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

The court must appoint counsel for indigent children in TPR cases if they do not have a GAL.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Termination of Parental Rights (Private) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

Parents have a right to counsel in adoption proceedings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents

Legislation

Key_development Question_mark

Right to counsel

A statute provides a right to counsel for all indigent parents in termination of parental rights hearings.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no

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Litigation

Right to counsel

The WA Supreme Court found a right to counsel for indigent parents in state termination cases, although it has not reaffirmed it since Lassiter.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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Other Subject Areas

Legislation

WA Senate bill adds right to counsel for post-termination dependent children

Washington SB6126 created a right to counsel for dependent children within 6 months after a petition to terminate parental rights is granted.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

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