Monday, September 20, 2021

CFP: A Civil Right to Counsel

Those who have been writing about access to counsel in immigration courts may be interested to know there is a CFP with Journal fo Civil Rights and Economic Development. Three authors will be selected to speak at a virtual panel, publish their papers, and receive a $500 honorarium. Here is the full description of the topic, submission requirements, and the deadlines:

Closing the Justice Gap:
A Civil Right to Counsel

While there is a recognized affirmative right to counsel in criminal cases in the United States of America,[1] generally, there is no right to counsel in civil cases.[2] Civil cases can determine the rights of litigants in essential matters including housing, orders relating to domestic violence, custody of children, access to healthcare, and those facing jail for failure to pay child support or criminal fines or fees.[3] 7 in 10 low income Americans experience at least one civil legal problem every year.[4] Of those experiencing civil legal problems, 70 percent report that the problems greatly affect them.[5] However, only 20 percent will seek legal help, and more than half of those who do so will receive only limited assistance or no legal assistance at all because the organizations providing assistance lack the necessary resources.[6]

Recently, several states and localities have created laws that expand the civil right to counsel. Several states have expanded the right to counsel for minors or parents in custody disputes or in cases involving orders of protections.[7] One of the most active areas is the expansion of the right to counsel in evictions. In 2017, NYC passed legislation granting low-income NYC tenants a right to counsel when they are sued in eviction cases.[8] The cities of San Francisco, Newark, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Santa Monica passed similar right to counsel laws in 2018 and 2019.[9] In 2021, Connecticut, Maryland, and Washington enacted legislation giving low-income or indigent tenants facing eviction a right to counsel.[10] 

We are in an ideal time to explore this issue. Several recent laws and pilot programs have been in effect long enough for authors to examine how the programs have operated and where they have succeeded and failed. JCRED seeks to publish the work of scholars who creatively explore what we can do to guarantee a civil right to counsel.

Possible topics for submissions include but are not limited to:

  • Analyses of the disparate results represented litigants have as compared to unrepresented ones
  • Comparisons of laws or proposed legislation granting a civil right to counsel
  • Explorations of the limitations or challenges posed by current or proposed civil right to counsel laws
  • Proposals on how to ensure funding is available for existing and future civil right to counsel programs
  • Reviews of existing laws giving a civil right to counsel, such as New York City’s Right to Counsel in eviction cases
  • Comparative analyses of programs outside the United States and how they could be adopted within the country

The deadline to submit an abstract is October 10, 2021, and the selected full-length articles will be due January 9, 2022.

To Submit, Please Send:

  • Abstract with a minimum length of two pages;
  • Your name, title, and professional affiliation;
  • Your Curriculum Vitae/Resume;
  • Your contact details including phone number and email address.

Optional: Full Manuscripts are also welcome

  • Manuscripts between 25 and 75 pages for full-length articles and essays, commentaries, or practice guides between 10 and 20 pages.

Please submit your abstract (or manuscript/essay/commentary) for consideration to:

Submission Deadlines:

  • Abstract Deadline: October 10th, 2021
  • Notification Date for Selected Authors: October 25th, 2021
  • Final Article Submission Deadline: January 9th, 2022

If you have any questions about this call for papers, please contact the Research & Symposium Director, Katie O'Brien,

MHC (h/t Elaine Chiu)

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