Catch 22: No Capacity, No Lawyer

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 experience working with brain injured clients, and would be willing to consider assisting Judy pro bono on either an application to appeal her trial outcome, a human rights complaint, or an appeal of her legal aid refusal, we would like to hear from you, and can connect you to Judy. You can email us at

Related to Judy’s Story:

“Brain-injured woman denied legal aid calls her ordeal ‘frighteningly unfair'” (CBC)

Julie speaks with CBC Radio about Judy’s case

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

“In Other News” Links:

Gillian Hadfield: “We the people: Why legal systems should be built from the bottom up” (Place)

Jumping Off the Ivory Tower on iTunes – please consider giving us a rating and a review!

Robert Lapper to step down as Law Society CEO

Osgoode Dean Lorne Sossin to step down spring 2018

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Comments (3)

  • William Reid

    One of the horrible things about mental illness is the isolation. The feeling that you are alone and no one else gets it. It meant so much to hear Ms. Gayton’s story. I currently am waiting for the response to my appeal to legal aid where I am dealing with similar circumstances. I suffer from debilitating depression and my ex stopped making support payments which left me with no choice but to file in family court. . Initially my income was low enough to qualify for legal aid but before my trial my ex started making interim monthly payments (after three years) so I would no longer qualify for legal aid. I have a trial meeting in three months and no lawyer! At the case conference and the settlement conference, two different presiding judges completely dismissed my disability even when it was clear that I was facing personal bankruptcy. In my fifty four years I have never been as ashamed of my country as I am now.

    October 2, 2017 at 12:16 pm
    • NSRLP

      Hi William, thanks so much for your comment. You may already be familiar with our resources, but in case you’re not I’d like to draw your attention to a few things.

      First, you might like to sign up for our newsletter – we send out a monthly email with stories about our work, and the A2J world in general, as well as notices each time we post a new blog. You’ll find the newsletter sign-up at the bottom of any page on our site.

      Second, it would be so helpful if you could fill out our SRL intake form – we try to gather as many SRL stories as possible, to aid in our research and understanding of the SRL phenomenon. (We also maintain strict confidentiality of any personal information.) You can find the Intake Form here:

      Finally, you may find some of our primers helpful:

      As well as our National Directory of Professionals Assisting SRLs (many lawyers who offer lower cost, unbundled services):

      I’m so sorry to hear about your experience; we wish this wasn’t such a common experience.

      Best of luck,
      Dayna Cornwall,
      NSRLP Project Coordinator

      October 3, 2017 at 2:04 pm
  • Barb Kueber

    Terrific talk! Thanks Judy! NSRLP of course!
    We’re all rooting for you Judy!
    Come on CBC and you other guys, how about covering some of these stories a bit sooner, while there’s time to intervene?

    October 2, 2017 at 12:40 pm

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