The Role of Counsel: Performance Standards for Attorneys in Civil Commitment and in Conservatorship Proceedings

• Performance Standards Governing the Representation of Clients in Civil Commitment Proceedings (Connecticut)
• Performance Standards Governing Representation of Clients in Conservatorship Proceedings (Connecticut)

The Performance Standards are published by the Office of the Probate Court Administrator in the Manual for Court-Appointed Attorneys in Courts of Probate. Both sets of Performance Standards were promulgated in 1997, in conjunction with the continuing education program for lawyers and judges, Probate Court Practice: Practical Representation of Persons with Psychiatric Disabilities, sponsored by the Office of the Probate Court Administrator, Connecticut Legal Rights Project, and the Health Law Clinic at Quinnipiac College School of Law. The standards were revised in 2016 in light of changes in the statutes.

Cases on the RIght to Effective Assistance of Counsel:

"We close by admonishing trial courts, the state's attorney, and all counsel who represent respondents in involuntary commitment and treatment proceedings to do better in future cases. Unfortunately, this is far from the first time we have encountered such a brazen disregard for the law in civil commitment cases. Our appellate court has repeatedly stressed the need for strict compliance with the legislatively established procedural safeguards for involuntary commitment proceedings. Nevertheless, our admonitions continue to go unheeded, and fundamental errors and omissions recur with disturbing regularity. This threatens to render involuntary commitment and treatment proceedings, which involve massive intrusions on respondents' liberty, pro forma proceedings. That cannot be tolerated. We hope that our supreme court will act to stop to these continuing, egregious violations of respondents' constitutional and statutory rights in these cases." -- In re Marcus S., supra