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Appointed Counsel for indigent civil litigants

Orlando, FL |

I was researching to try and find out if civil litigants, who are deemed indigent by the court, have a right to Appointed counsel. It seems this is on a case by case and only if certain personal liberties are at stake. So my question is "If I am being sued, and the outcome of the suit would result in someone taking away my right to freedom of speech, and a part of the civil case is also a crime (defamation, libel, slander, etc..) do I have a right to appointed counsel and if so, how do I get a court to appoint one for me"

Attorney Answers 3


No. There is no constitutional right to appointed counsel in civil cases, and I am not aware of any state or local jurisdiction which provides such counsel.

There may be attorneys that may be willing to voluntarily accept the case on a pro bono basis, there is no mechanism for having such counsel appointed by the court.

As to your specific theory, unless you're being sued by the state or a state actor, defamation suits are not generally considered to abridge the freedom of speech. Further, the question is not whether "certain personal liberties are at stake," it's whether the case is criminal or civil. If it's criminal, you have the right to an attorney, and one will be appointed if you cannot afford one. If it's civil, if you cannot afford an attorney, you will have to do without.

This answer does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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You need to contact your local bar association or legal aide organization. Many of these organizations offer pro bono services to indigent clients. Unless you have been charged with a crime, you do not have the right to a court appointed attorney.

Every situation is different and no one should rely solely on information received from the internet. If you have any questions about your legal rights, you should consult with an attorney that practices in that area of law. Nothing in this message should be construed as creating any type of attorney-client relationship.

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There is no right to appointed counsel in a civil case.

You might want to contact legal aid to see if you meet its criteria for the appointment of a lawyer to help you.

This is a summary based on incomplete facts. You should not rely on it as legal advise. No attorney-client relationship is intended to be formed.

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