Author - NSRLP

“This Case is About A2J – and About Insiders and Outsiders”

The Supreme Court of Canada’s unanimous decision in Pintea v Johns (heard April 18, 2017) was delivered from the bench by Justice Karakatsanis. But even before a decision was rendered, it was very apparent that the Court took seriously the challenges that SRL’s face, and the need to adjust and adapt to ensure that they have Access to Justice. Here I offer a brief summary that I hope conveys the tone and flavor of the hearing (which I attended along [...]

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New A2J All-Star: Anne Fletcher!

Our newest Access to Justice All-Star is Anne Fletcher of the Bella Coola Legal Advocacy Program in British Columbia. Anne is an Advocate, funded by the Law Foundation of BC, and a Community Partner of the Legal Services Society (LSS). She helps hundreds of people a year access justice in the BC communities of Bella Coola, Bella Bella, and Klemtu, which have a high proportion of Indigenous clients. These are remote and isolated parts of the province where resources to help [...]

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The National Action Committee’s A2J Innovation Roundtable—This Time with Self-Represented Litigants

For the first time, National Action Committee members – leaders in the legal profession, members of the Bench, justice system policymakers and those providing A2J services – had the opportunity to work directly with SRLs at a Vancouver meeting of the Committee on March 22. Julie, along with David Merner, Executive Director of the BC Dispute Resolution Office, worked to arrange for the participation of ten SRLs as guests of the NAC. They were warmly welcomed. Working groups (each of which [...]

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NSRLP Heads to Supreme Court of Canada!

This coming Tuesday, April 18th, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear the case of Pintea v Johns (2016 ABCA 99). This case centres on a finding of civil contempt against an elderly disabled man, who was representing himself because he could not afford counsel. Because of a change of address, Mr Pintea did not receive two notices from the court requiring him to appear at a case conference. When he did appear he was found in contempt and penalized [...]

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Why I Work With Julie and the National Self-Represented Litigants Project

This week’s guest blog is written by Cynthia Eagan, who has worked with the NSRLP since 2012. Cynthia is a former librarian in the Detroit Public Library system, a literacy expert, and is presently retraining to be a massage therapist. In her blog, Cynthia explains why she feels a connection to self-represented litigants, and how she was drawn to work with NSRLP. Way back when I was in library school, there was a legal skirmish between California’s Nolo Press and [...]

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Case Law Research is like Cheesecake

This week’s guest blog is written by Cynthia Freitag, a Law Clerk and an active member of the Toronto chapter of the National Self-Represented Litigants Network (NSSN). As a self-represented litigant (SRL) you are, in fact, your own lawyer. This means you need to learn how a lawyer carries out legal research, what they research, and why they research, in order to represent yourself the best way you can. This means learning about case law. When lawyers prepare for trial they [...]

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Why Family Lawyers Should Consider Getting Behind the Bonkalo Recommendations

Justice Bonkalo’s long-anticipated report and recommendations on the future of family legal services in Ontario has provoked an outpouring of reaction from the Family Bar. Most of the response has been negative, expressing reservations, alarm and even fear. We should not be surprised by this, given the tenor of the submissions made by a number of leading family law organizations to Justice Bonkalo before she finalized her Report. The opposing voices that defend the status quo – and reject Bonkalo’s [...]

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NEEDED: PUBLIC FEEDBACK ON FAMILY LEGAL SERVICES IN ONTARIO

The Bonkalo Review of Family Legal Services in Ontario Justice Annemarie Bonkalo was appointed in February 2016 by the Ministry of the Attorney-General (or MAG, the legal department of the Ontario government) and the Law Society of Upper Canada (or LSUC, which oversees the legal profession in Ontario) to lead a review of who can offer family legal services in Ontario. At that time, only lawyers could offer family legal services. Paralegals, who offer some types of legal assistance, were [...]

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Judges Assisting SRLs

This month the NSRLP would like to highlight a recent decision by the Honourable Madam Justice Kristjanson of the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario. The case – Sae-Bin Im v. BMO Investorline Inc.– explores the extent to which judges must assist self-represented litigants. In the case, Mr. Im brought a motion seeking leave to discontinue the action, with the intention of then bringing a new application for the same cause of action against the same parties. Justice Kristjanson, in [...]

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NSRLP Advisory Board Welcomes Chief Justice Derek Green and Dean Lorne Sossin

We are thrilled to welcome two new members to our terrific, cross-Canada Advisory Board. Our diverse and the NSRLP team to set priorities, brainstorm new ideas, enlarge our network of contacts, and of course, our wonderful board members share their own expertise with us. Chief Justice Derek Green Chief Justice Derek Green of Newfoundland and Labrador is a strong and outspoken voice in the national conversation on Access to Justice. Justice Green’s open-minded stance in the search for solutions to the [...]

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