Adult Guardianship Statute:
Conn. Gen State Ann. §§ 45a-591 to -602; 45a-644 to -705a
Right to Counsel in Statute: Initial Guardianship Proceedings:
Right to Counsel in Statute: Post-Appointment Guardianship Proceedings:
Right to Counsel Statututory Citation:
Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 45a-649a(a) & (b). -673, -681
Right to Counsel Definition in Statute:
"(a) A respondent . . . or a conserved person . . . who is subject to proceedings subsequent to the appointment of a conservator pursuant to an application of involuntary representation shall have the right to be represented by an attorney of the respondent's or conserved person's choosing at the expense of the respondent or conserved person or, if the respondent or conserved person is indigent, within the payment guidelines of the Court of Probate. (b) If the Court of Probate finds the respondent or conserved person is indigent or otherwise unable to pay for an attorney, the court shall appoint an attorney for the respondent or conserved person unless the respondent or conserved person refuses to be represented by an attorney and the court finds that the respondent or conserved person understands the nature of the refusal." Conn. Gen. Stat. § 45a-649a. "Unless respondent is represented by counsel, the court shall immediately appoint counsel for the respondent." Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 45a-673. "The court shall review each guardianship of the person with intellectual disability . . . at least every three years and shall either continue, modify or terminate the order for guardianship . . . If the ward is unable to request or obtain an attorney, the court shall appoint an attorney for the ward." Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 45a-681.
Advocacy Role of Counsel Defined in Statute:
Professional Rules &/or Ethics Opinions:
Conn. R. of Prof. Conduct, Rule 1.14: (a) When a client's capacity to make adequately considered decisions in connection with a representation is diminished, whether because of minority, mental impairment or for some other reason, the lawyer shall, as far as reasonably possible, maintain a normal client-lawyer relationship with the client. (b) When the lawyer reasonably believes that the client has diminished capacity, is at risk of substantial physical, financial or other harm unless action is taken and cannot adequately act in the client's own interest, the lawyer may take reasonably necessary protective action, including consulting with individuals or entities that have the ability to take action to protect the client and, in appropriate cases, seeking the appointment of a guardian ad litem, conservator or guardian.
Case Law Discussing Role of Counsel:
Counsel has the obligation to abide by client's decision in representation; even if the client is incompetent, counsel must ascertain articulated preferences of the client. See In re Abigail, No. T11CP02011439, 2006 WL 1230051, *1 (Conn. April 19, 2006).
Other Case Law:
Before counsel waives a right articulated in the guardianship proceeding, counsel must consult with the client, determining whether the client has the competency to waive his or her right. See Oller v. Oller-Chiang, 646 A.2d 822 (Conn. 1994).
Other Important Info:
The court shall review each guardianship of the person with intellectual disability or limited guardianship of the person with intellectual disability at least every three years and shall either continue, modify or terminate the order for guardianship. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 45a-681(a).