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Shining A Light On Connecticut’s Probate Courts

Rick Green is at it again, as he should be:

I think we need to shine a bright, glaring light on the often-obscure world of probate court in Connecticut. We need to ask why life-changing legal decisions are still made in courts where 40 percent of the judges aren’t even lawyers. We need to ask why we have more than 100 courts sprinkled across a tiny state when what’s needed is consolidation and judges with real legal training, like law school and experience practicing law. Hartford Courant, 5/6/2008

There are excellent probate judges in Connecticut. That’s not a debatable point.

Still, questions of the system and the administration of justice in Connecticut’s probate court should continue to be asked.

Mr. Green should continue to shed a “bright glaring light, on the often-obscure world of probate court in Connecticut.”

One of the oddities in conservatorship law is the absence of case law. I’ve often heard lawyers remark that Connecticut has a shallow body of case law.  Case law is both instructive and vital to the practice of law.

The only published decisions in conservatorship cases come as the result of Superior Court appeals which are rare.  Probate court decisions are not published. Therefore, probate court judges can’t see how other judges are interpreting statutes and applying the law.

The lack of published decisions is shocking considering that one’s liberty and civil rights are at stake in a conservatorship proceeding.