PA Justices: kids have a right to counsel in termination of parental rights cases

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Blog post from National coalition for civil right to counsel

PA SUPREME COURT: CHILDREN HAVE RIGHT TO COUNSEL IN TERMINATION PROCEEDINGS

In In re L.B.M., the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reinforced the right to counsel for children in termination of parental rights cases.

 First and foremost, six of the seven justices rejected the position of the trial court that a child’s statutory right to “counsel” is satisfied simply where the best interests GAL happens to be a lawyer. The Court held that the word “counsel”, when viewed in context, means the right not just to have a representative who is a lawyer, but to have such lawyer advocate for the child’s wishes (i.e., “legal counsel”).

 

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