Connecticut Task Force Urges Better Access To Civil Legal Services

Jan 3, 2017

People accused of committing a crime have a right to free legal representation from a public defender. That doesn’t apply to civil cases, but a Connecticut task force wants to change that.

Those who can’t afford legal counsel for civil cases, like restraining orders, residential evictions, child custody and immigration deportation proceedings, don’t receive representation at all.

Now, a state judicial task force says the legislature should pass a law guaranteeing free legal counsel to settle those kinds of civil cases.

The task force says the “fiscal and social cost of likely injustice significantly outweighs the fiscal cost of civil council.”

The funding for civil counsel would come from a judicial branch budget. That budget was cut heavily last year because of a deficit.

The state’s next two-year budget is already projected to have a deficit of more than $1 billion.