Does Court Have to Appoint a Lawyer In Civil Cases ?

A district judge may appoint counsel for an indigent party in a civil case. TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. 24.016 (Vernon 1988). Yet, the Texas Supreme Court has never held that a civil litigant must be represented by counsel in order for a court to carry on its essential, constitutional function, even though in some exceptional cases, the public and private interests at stake are such that the administration of justice may best be served by appointing a lawyer to represent an indigent civil litigant Travelers Indem. Co. v. Mayfield, 923 S.W.2d 590, 594 (Tex. 1996); Coleman v. Lynaugh, 934 S.W.2d 837, 839 (Tex. App. -- Houston [1st Dist.] 1996, no writ) (emphasis added). In Coleman, the appellant did not show that his case was "exceptional." Coleman, 934 S.W.2d at 839. Thus the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it did not appoint counsel. An example of such an exception would be if appellant were not allowed to obtain a bench warrant to attend hearings or the trial. See In re Pedraza, 978 S.W.2d 671, 672 (Tex.App. -- Corpus Christi 1998, no pet.).