Friday, October 1, 2010

Legal Aid Group asks Wisconsin Supreme Court to provide free representation in civil cases

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting (here) that a legal-aid group called Legal Action of Wisconsin plans to present a petition to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to adopt a rule that would provide free lawyers to some civil litigants arguing it is needed to protect poor litigants’ rights to basic human needs.

The proposed new rule would read as follows: "Where a civil litigant is indigent (defined as below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines), the court shall provide counsel at public expense where the assistance of counsel is needed to protect the litigant's rights to basic human needs, including sustenance, shelter, clothing, heat, medical care, safety and child custody and placement. In making the determination as to whether the assistance of counsel is needed, the court may consider the personal characteristics of the litigant, such as age, mental capacity, education, and knowledge of the law and of legal proceedings, and the complexity of the case."

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