New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

Document Type



Touro Law Review, Vol. 25, pp. 32-70, 2009


The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) and 11 other bar associations co-sponsored a 2006 American Bar Association (ABA) resolution that urged federal and state jurisdictions to establish a right to counsel in civil cases concerning basic human needs. This report compares the scope of the existing right to counsel in New York State to the five categories of basic human needs cases identified by the ABA: Cases concerning shelter, sustenance, safety, health or child custody. It also assesses the existing right to counsel in cases concerning members of special or vulnerable populations, and in cases involving deprivation of physical liberty. It also suggests areas for expansion of the right, particularly regarding cases concerning evictions, foreclosures, and unemployment insurance appeals.

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