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Modernizing Capacity Doctrine, Lisa V. Martin Jul 2021

Modernizing Capacity Doctrine, Lisa V. Martin

Faculty Publications

Federal capacity doctrine—or the rules establishing whether and how children’s civil litigation proceeds—has largely remained the same for more than a century. It continues to presume that all children are incapable of directing their own cases, and that adults must litigate on children’s behalf. But since that time, our understanding of children, and of adolescents in particular, has significantly evolved. This Article contends that it is well beyond time to modernize the capacity doctrine to better account for the capabilities of adolescents and support their transition to adulthood.