Yes, it Really is That Bad!

This week’s guest blog is written by Laurel Dietz, who is the owner and operator of Alinea Legal Coaching in Victoria, BC. Laurel is a lawyer who provides coaching and legal consultation to clients going through separation and divorce. Yes, it Really is That Bad! A lawyer’s observations on the SRL experience in the justice system I was inspired to write this blog post after reading the November 15th, 2018 post by a Self-Represented Litigant (anonymous) who decided to file for her [...]

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Walking Wounded

This week’s guest blog is written by Jana Saracevic. Jana is a former SRL who has worked with NSRLP and supported other SRLs for the past five years. This blog post voices her frustrations with the enormous challenges faced by SRLs, and the impact on them. Walking Wounded Indulge me for a moment while I voice my frustrations. In my wildest dreams, I never expected to become an SRL. During my tenure in the quagmire we call “the Canadian legal system” I thought [...]

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A Place of Powerlessness

It’s been a really rough few weeks on the personal/health front. I have lost both my dogs, been hospitalized twice, and suffered through a lot of pain. And to cap it off, already physically vulnerable, I was put in a place of emotional powerlessness within the health system. The Canadian health system: full of good people, and a few not-so, and wall-to-wall bad processes – just like the legal system. As he drove me home after my second hospitalization, my partner [...]

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Bringing a Claim to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal is a Kafkaesque Experience

Reminder to all our faithful readers: we’re still taking suggestions for a title for our historically nameless blog – post your ideas in the comments here, or send them to representingyourself@gmail.com. Thanks! This week’s guest blog is written by Chantal McCollum. Chantal began her LLB at Windsor Law, and completed it at the University of Ottawa. She is now articling. Chantal was an SRL before she came to law school. Bringing a Claim to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal is a [...]

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Tick Tock: A Two-Phase Blueprint to Improve A2J in BC using Paralegals

Reminder to all our faithful readers: we’re still taking suggestions for a title for our historically nameless blog – post your ideas in the comments here, or send them to representingyourself@gmail.com. Thanks!   This week’s guest blog is written by Dom Bautista, who is the Executive Director of  the Amici Curiae Friendship Society in British Columbia. Dom is writing in his personal capacity, and this post does not reflect the views of Amici Curiae. It is a condensed version of his [...]

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2019 and a new direction for the NSRLP Blog

Since the NSRLP’s inception in 2013, a central mandate has been to bring the public into the conversation about justice reform, and specifically including the experiences and needs of the self-represented (a majority in many courts now) in every effort to address the A2J crisis. We have called out fake claims about “what the public thinks” made without any effort to actually consult them; “insider errors” that frame SRLs as “the enemy”; and we have lamented the lack of public [...]

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A2J Round-Up 2018 – and some wishes for Santa

A short history lesson The courts were originally created to protect citizens from the overreach of the State. Over time, they evolved into a forum for the contestation of claims between individuals, and eventually, corporations and institutions. Independent of the sovereign – and later the legislature – the purpose of the courts is to offer deliberated conflict resolution by neutral experts (judges), whose wisdom and learning in law is trusted by both sides to come up with a fair outcome. For centuries, [...]

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Self-Represented Litigants in the Courts: How They Are Shaping the Jurisprudence

Originally published on Slaw, Canada’s online legal magazine; written by Julie Macfarlane. This is the first in a regular series of columns for Slaw, written by the NSRLP team.  What happens to a system of expert legal adjudication when in some courts, up to three in four litigants are advocating for themselves without the assistance of counsel? The influx of self-represented litigants (SRLs) into the family, civil and appellate courts (family: 50% across the country, up to 80% in some urban [...]

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Feeling the Anger

I understand why so many people are so angry. The legal system in Canada has let down its users, the communities it serves, and its own values of fairness and equality. So many people now experience the courts or lawyers or the law as a club that excludes them, a tight clique that always looks down on them as “outsiders”, and will never see them as equals or peers. Five years ago I wrote a blog called “Fire in the Hole” about [...]

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The Costs of Self-Representation

This week’s guest blog is written by a Self-Represented Litigant, who prefers to remain anonymous. I recently had the misfortune of having to file documentation in my family law case in Ontario. In addition to the trauma of the experience that led me to that moment, I was forced to make a decision about expense – financial vs. personal: I could either pay costly legal fees, or sacrifice my time, collect my emotions, and test my internet research savvy.   The easy (but [...]

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