Dear Santa

Dear Santa, We know how busy you are, so we thought that one letter from the diverse collective of friends and supporters of the NSRLP would save you some time this season, since ultimately we all wish for the same outcome – better access to justice in Canada. Here is our Wish List. My wish for Access for Justice in Canada this holiday season is that every lawyer in Canada commit to assisting at least one SRL over the holiday season with unbundled [...]

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Update From the US SRL Study: Jennifer Muller Appears in Promotional Video for “Cases Without Counsel”

Work continues by IAALS at the University of Denver on the duplication of the Canadian methodology in five US states where SRLs will be interviewed about their experiences – motivations, expectations, consequences and impact – using the NSRLP template. In order to reach out and encourage SRLs to participate in the US study, NSRLP Board member and former SRL Jennifer Muller has filmed a short video for “Cases Without Counsel”, which is now posted on the IAALS website. In it, [...]

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“Rebuilding Public Trust” Graphic by Margaret Hagan

We have been delighted to work with Margaret Hagan, a graduate of Stanford Law School and increasingly recognized graphic artist, on an illustration for our December theme of “Rebuilding Public Trust in the Justice System” (Action Step #10). Combining law and design, Margaret’s vision is informed by her work on international human rights (she has a doctorate in international human rights from the University of Belfast). She is fascinated by the potential of design and visual images to enable disenfranchised [...]

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Innovative Alberta QB Amicus Program for SRLs Now Expanding

The Alberta “QB Amicus” program is an excellent example of the collaboration and innovation that is emerging as a result of increased attention being paid to access to justice issues for self-represented litigants. This initiative – a collaboration among Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA), Pro Bono Students Canada, private law firms, Student Legal Assistance, the Children’s Legal and Educational Resource Centre and the Court of Queen’s Bench,- began as a Calgary-based pilot in October 2013. From January 2014, the program [...]

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Collecting Critical SRL Data Via Our New Intake Form

Despite ending data collection for the original SRL Study in December 2012, we have not stopped hearing from SRLs on a daily basis at the NSRLP. Within a few months of the end of the formal study, we created a self-complete “Intake Form” which asked for basic information – for example court, education, income, experience with counsel, access to pro bono legal services/ duty counsel, use of Internet resources – from all SRLs who wanted to be a part [...]

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A Letter to Santa for Access to Justice in Canada

As we draw closer to the 2014 festive holiday season for many (including Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice…) it is a widely shared tradition to look at what we wish for the coming year. For some, one traditional practice is the writing a “letter to Santa” describing the gifts that we wish for. In accordance with this particular festive custom, we offer you….. “A Letter to Santa for Access to Justice in Canada” We are inviting our friends, colleagues and NSRLP subscribers [...]

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Working with SRLs: Ideas and Suggestions from the Bench

A small Working Group of judges, representing jurisdictions across Canada, and who hear SRLs on a regular basis in their courtrooms have been working together for three months to produce “Working with SRLs: Ideas and Suggestions from the Bench”. We are formally launching this unique document today. NSRLP convened the Working Group in September, when the month’s focus was “Judges and SRLs”. The final product is a collaborative effort by the group’s members, facilitated by Julie Macfarlane. All judges have concerns [...]

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The Psychological Costs of Seeking Civil Justice

This week’s guest blogger is Professor Noel Semple, our colleague at the Faculty of Law University of Windsor and a member of the NSRLP Advisory Board. Noel is working with the original study database to probe the psychological and other social costs of self-representation, and this piece describes some of those impacts on SRLs. Tackling your own legal problem without a lawyer may save money – that’s usually why people do it. But that doesn’t mean that self-representation is cost-free. [...]

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Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society: Exploring a Legal Coaching Model

Julie conducted a full day workshop for the Nova Scoria Barrister’s Society on November 12th on how lawyers might work with SRLs, either offering direct services as “legal coaches”, or working opposite a SRL on the other side of a matter. A coaching model would allow lawyers to offer unbundled services to equip SRLs to move forward on their own, perhaps with regular review and assistance from the “lawyer-coach”. NSBS is interested in promoting this model as part of [...]

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