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California’s New Minimum Requirements for Attorneys Representing Youth in Delinquency Court

Tuesday, March 8, 2016  
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Effective July 1, 2016, all lawyers who are court-appointed to represent youth in juvenile delinquency court, including public defenders, must meet certain minimum training or experience requirements as defined by the Judicial Council of California before starting representation of a minor client. The new qualification requirements are pursuant to AB 703 and newly enacted Welfare & Institutions Code Section 634.3. Training areas may include, but are not limited to, an overview of juvenile delinquency law and procedure, child and adolescent development, special education, competence and mental health issues, counsel’s ethical duties, advocacy in the post-dispositional phase, appellate issues, direct and collateral consequences of court involvement for a minor, and securing effective rehabilitative resources. Attorneys who have sufficient recent experience in which they have demonstrated competence representing youth in delinquency proceedings may be exempted from the minimum initial training requirements. All attorneys representing youth in delinquency court will be required to meet specific continuing education requirements regularly.


The Judicial Council will implement a new rule of court effective July 1, 2016, that clarifies these new standards and requirements. The court may require evidence of the competency of any attorney appointed to represent youth in a delinquency proceeding, including requesting documentation of trainings attended. Courts may decide to require attorneys to use a new judicial council form to document compliance with the rule.


Each attorney is solely responsible for his or her own compliance with AB 703. Attorneys are strongly encouraged to participate in trainings that satisfy the AB 703 requirements before July 1, 2016. These trainings may count toward the required triennial MCLE compliance requirements.

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