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No Right To Counsel, No Access Without: The Poor Child's Unconstitutional Catch-22, Lisa V. Martin May 2019

No Right To Counsel, No Access Without: The Poor Child's Unconstitutional Catch-22, Lisa V. Martin

Faculty Publications

In the midst of the push for universal access to counsel in civil cases and the increasing proportion of litigants who represent themselves, a critical barrier to access to justice for children has been overlooked. Federal courts have created a catch-22 for child litigants. Children cannot bring claims themselves, so parents must bring the claims on their behalf. Federal courts refuse to allow parents to pursue these claims pro se, stating that parents cannot provide adequate legal representation. Yet, there is no right to counsel in civil cases, and these same courts typically conclude the children’s cases do not warrant …