The Task Force to Study Implementing a Civil Right to Counsel in Maryland was established by the General Assembly of Maryland through the enactment of Senate Bill 262. The Task Force will:
- study the current resources available to assist in providing counsel to low–income Marylanders compared to the depth of the unmet need, including the resulting burden on the court system and the stress on other public resources;
- study whether low–income Marylanders should have the right to counsel at public expense in basic human needs cases, such as those involving shelter, sustenance, safety, health, or child custody, including review and analysis of the Maryland Access to Justice Commission’s “Implementing a Civil Right to Counsel in Maryland” report and each other previous report by a task force, commission, or workgroup on this issue;
- study alternatives regarding the currently underserved citizenry of the State and the operation of the court system;
- study how the right to counsel might be implemented in Maryland;
- study the costs to provide meaningful access to counsel and the savings to the court system and other public resources;
- study the possible revenue sources; and
- make recommendations regarding the matters described in this subsection.
The legislation authorizing the Task Force took effect on October 1, 2013. The Task Force is required to submit a report by October 1, 2014. The Task Force is staffed by the Maryland Access to Justice Commission.