The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) is committed to advancing understanding of the challenges and hard choices facing the very large numbers of Canadians who now bring their case to court without counsel.
The NSRLP works to promote dialogue and collaboration among all those affected by the self-represented litigant phenomenon, both justice system professionals and litigants themselves. We regularly publish resources designed specifically for SRLs, as well as research reports that examine and illuminate the implications for the justice system.
The NSRLP grew out of the National Self-Represented Litigants Study, published in 2013, which was the first study to document the experiences of SRLs in Canada and the May 2013 Windsor Dialogue Event, that brought together lawyers, judges, courts services staff and justice policy professionals with SRLs to discuss the report’s findings and plan for the future.
Community Justice Fellow
Nikki Gershbain, National Director of Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC), has been awarded a Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship by the Law Foundation of Ontario. Ms. Gershbain will be partnering with the National Self-Represented Litigants Project in the coming year. Read more here.
New US Self-Represented Litigants Study
The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System has just released its study of self-represented litigants experiences in four US states. The study (“Cases Without Counsel”) was modelled on the Canadian National SRL Study and involved personal interviews with hundreds of SRLs exploring their motivations, expectations, the impact of self-representation, and their needs. Julie and Sue helped to design the original instruments and assisted the US team with outreach and data collection. The Final Report details findings that are strikingly similar to the results of the 2013 Canadian Study (you can read Julie’s blog comparing the preliminary results here)
CBC’s The National Documentary: “The New Litigants”
We are delighted that CBC’s The National featured an extended documentary called “The New Litigants” on December 31st. Filmed this summer with the facilitation of NSRLP in Ontario, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, this 19-minute film includes interviews with SRLs, judges and lawyers, and presents the facts about the SRL experience to CBC viewers.
If you missed it, watch the documentary here.