Author - NSRLP

New Resource for SRLs with Disabilities

We hear increasingly often from self-represented litigants who are also persons with disabilities (PWDs), struggling through the court system with an extra level of difficulty. These litigants are forced to deal with the “double-whammy” of navigating the justice system alone, while simultaneously facing the physical and systemic barriers that PWDs deal with on a daily basis. In an effort to begin to address the needs of this community, we have recently released our newest “primer” for SRLs: “Navigating the Justice [...]

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Celebrating – and Using – the Pintea Decision

This week’s episode of Jumping Off the Ivory Tower, our social justice podcast, features Colin Feasby of Osler Hoskin & Harcourt’s Calgary office. Colin was the appellant’s lead counsel in Pintea v Johns (2017 SCC 23). In Pintea, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that self-represented litigants should not be treated in exactly the same way as a trained lawyer, because of the differences between them in terms of knowledge and power. Colin’s reflections on Pintea and predictions for [...]

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Insiders and Outsiders

Colin Feasby, lawyer Julie talks to lawyer Colin Feasby about his experience as pro bono lawyer for a self-represented litigant in the now rather famous Pintea v. Johns case that made it all the way to the Supreme Court this past April (NSRLP acted as intervenor in that case). On its face, the case was about the hugely punitive fine levied against Mr. Pintea for missing two case management meetings while he was self-representing; but even more importantly, this case [...]

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Islamophobia In Our Backyard

Khalil Jessa, law student and activist This week Julie talks with Windsor Law student Khalil Jessa about his thoughts on mounting Islamophobia in Canada, and his work to combat ignorance and hate. Plus, strains in the relationship between the Canadian public and our judiciary. Related: Quebec passes bill banning niqab, burka while receiving public services (National Post) Quebec’s face veil ban may face a Supreme Court challenge (Toronto Star) In Other News: Quebec judge’s remarks about ‘overweight’ teen sex assault victim ‘worrisome,’ Crown says (CBC)  

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SRLs with Disabilities: Dealing with a Double Whammy

One of the most eye-opening aspects of working on self-representation and Access to Justice is the way that the different needs of different groups are increasingly revealed to us. The crisis in affordable legal services affects the majority of our community. So it is unsurprising that particular interests and challenges that are associated with distinct demographics keep appearing. Members of these groups challenge us to consider their specific obstacles to and requirements for Access to Justice, if they are to feel [...]

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Weinstein And Ghomeshi: Outing Sexual Predators

Kevin Donovan, journalist This week Julie talks to journalist and Toronto Star editor Kevin Donovan, who broke the Jian Ghomeshi sex abuse scandal in 2014. Kevin and Julie discuss the role of the press in exposing powerful sexual predators, in light of the recent revelations about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In other news, Jumping Off the Ivory Tower will take a break next week, but will be back on November 6th with a look at Islamophobia in our culture, including [...]

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Just a Conservative Alberta Lawyer

Lawyer Rob Harvie This week Julie talks to Alberta family lawyer, and Chair of the NSRLP Board, Rob Harvie, about access to justice, the self-represented litigant crisis, and client-focused legal services – specifically how Rob’s views on all these have changed with experience, and why he feels that change is now urgent. Plus, great library initiatives for SRLs, and a Halifax law firm hires a social justice lawyer – an innovative move. “In Other News” Links: Bend, Oregon’s “Lawyer in the Library” [...]

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When Will Law Schools Confront the SRL Reality?

NSRLP is proud of our initiative to expose law students to the human face of the SRL crisis, and to bring them some much-needed data on the extent of and the reason for the SRL phenomenon. Especially so given that law school classes continue to bury/ suppress/ hide/ neglect/ ignore this information. Here is the Good News SRL Awareness Day (formerly Bring an SRL to Law School Day) went off well at Windsor, Osgoode and Western last week. Ottawa U and Queens [...]

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How Far Can a Law School Dean Go?

Dean Lorne Sossin This week Julie talks to Lorne Sossin, Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, about, among other things, his thoughts on former Justice Robin Camp (the “knees together” judge), his philosophy of what it means to be a law school dean, and how student lawyers can be oriented to the lived realities of their future clients. Plus: the success of SRL Awareness Day, a case to watch on disability accommodation in the North West Territories, [...]

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Catch 22: No Capacity, No Lawyer

Judy Gayton, self-represented litigant Julie talks to self-represented litigant Judy Gayton about her years of struggling through the justice system with a cognitive disability. Judy’s story is representative of the many people contacting the NSRLP who face the double whammy of navigating the legal system by themselves, on top of a disability. In other news: another great piece from Gillian Hadfield, and career changes from two of Ontario’s top justice leaders. An Appeal: If you are a lawyer, especially if you have [...]

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