Trial Court Rules
Uniform Rules for Civil Commitment Proceedings for Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders

Trial Court Rules  Rule 4: Appointment of counsel

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Rule 4

Unless the respondent is represented by counsel, the court shall appoint counsel pursuant to Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:10(1)(f)(iii) before or upon the respondent's appearance before the court.


Rule 4 provides the court with flexibility to determine the appropriate time to appoint counsel for an unrepresented respondent. It may be convenient to appoint counsel upon a respondent's arrest, or even before then, to allow consultation before the respondent is brought before a judge. In any event, however, counsel must be appointed before the court-ordered examination, pursuant to G.L. c. 123, § 35, ¶ 3, and the attorney should be allowed to consult with the respondent before the examination begins.

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