In order to meet its human rights obligations, the federal government must work toward the establishment of the right to counsel for indigent litigants in civil cases, especially where basic human needs are at stake. Direct steps the federal government should take include: supporting research into the impact of providing counsel in civil cases; fully funding the Legal Services Corporation and lifting restrictions that prevent legal services lawyers from providing necessary services; intensifying the Acc,ess to Justice Initiative's activities with respect to civil legal services and providing it with the necessary leadership and resources; and filing supportive amicus briefs when the right to counsel is litigated in federal and state courts. The federal government should also support and coordinate efforts to establish a civil right to counsel at the state level and introduce and support legislation to create a right to counsel in civil cases where liberty interests or fundamental needs are at stake, including in immigration proceedings.
Human Rights Clinic,
Access to Justice: Ensuring Meaningful Access to Counsel in Civil Cases,
Syracuse L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/human_rights_institute/41