Author - NSRLP

SRL wins case on judicial bias

We often hear from self-represented litigants that they are concerned about impartiality and even conflicts of interest in their appearances before a particular judge. Unfortunately, this is symptomatic of a growing crisis of confidence in the justice system among some members of the public. A recent Alberta Court of Appeal decision (Carbone v. McMahon, 2017 ABCA 384) addresses this directly. SRL Angela Carbone had asked that the managing judge in her Alberta Queen’s Bench civil action be replaced, because she [...]

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Introducing the SRL Case Law Database!

We are thrilled to bring you the first, preliminary, Report on the SRL Case Law Database, which we have been working on for most of the past year. The purpose of the SRL Case Law Database is to track the developing jurisprudence across Canada in cases that affect the positions of individuals appearing unrepresented. We are focusing on four themes: “vexatiousness”, cost awards, procedural fairness and accommodations. As the number of cases in the Database grows, we are expecting to [...]

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Judges and SRLs: Broken Faith

Allison Bowen, former SRL This week’s podcast features the case of Allison Bowen, a self-represented litigant in family court, who was imprisoned for contempt on the request of her ex as a custody and child support conflict escalated between them. She had earlier asked the Canadian Judicial Council to replace Justice Brown with another family court judge, because she did not trust him to treat her without bias, and to judge the case based on the evidence, not whether he [...]

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Judges and SRLs: Opening A Dialogue

Justice David Price This week’s episode, a conversation with Ontario Superior Court Justice David Price, is a little different from our usual fare. The aim of this episode is to present some important and practical information about how to successfully navigate the legal process as a self-represented litigant in family court. Justice Price addresses how and why to craft a just and durable settlement in a family dispute, and provides a host of practical tips for family SRLs. We’d also [...]

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“We have to start, and this is our beginning”

“We have to start, and this is our beginning” With these words, Howard Goldblatt, the Chair of the Ontario Law Society’s A2J Committee, ushered in a new era of regulatory reform in Ontario that finally recognizes the need for change. The first step is expanding paralegal services to include some family matters, a proposal vocally opposed by many in the Family Bar. A long awaited decision on Bonkalo Last February, the Bonkalo Review of Family Legal Services recommended expansion of paralegal services to [...]

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Taking On the Church

David Greenwood, lawyer This week Julie talks to UK lawyer David Greenwood about his work with victims of abuse by members of the clergy, including the church’s response when victims come forward. In other news: new caselaw around SRLs and issues of judging, Julie on CBC Radio, and tracking SRL caselaw. In Other News: Carbone v McMahon case around judicial bias Julie on CBC Radio’s Ontario Today Jeanne Chard (Harvard Law) on research on case outcomes for SRLs

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Access to Justice for the Victims of Sexual Violence

The disclosures of the last five weeks have been extraordinary. Not because it comes as any surprise to me (or to most other women) that there are powerful men who think they can impose themselves on women, often multiple women – physically, sexually, verbally – and who believe they will never be checked for their bad behavior.  This is part of almost all women’s lives. But now, suddenly, there is a feeling that people are listening. Not just listening to ridicule [...]

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Tackling Campus Rape Culture

Brady Donohue, lawyer This week, Julie talks to lawyer Brady Donohue about her experiences with and efforts around campus sexual assaults, and the pervasive culture of sexual assault and harassment in our society generally, including the often frustrating institutional responses to allegations of assault. In other news: law societies consider paralegal services, a prestigious award for NSRLP board member John Manwaring, and press over the Dellen Millard case continues. In Other News: Bev Boyden’s blog post about Alberta paralegals NSRLP Advisory Board member [...]

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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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