De-Stressing Litigation: Working out the Kinks

De-Stressing Litigation: Working out the Kinks

A collaborative NSRLP/ Canadian Mental Health Association (Windsor)/ Ontario Court of Justice (Windsor)/ Canadian College (Windsor) project highlighted the stress and anxiety caused by self-representation.

On Friday, January 9th a room in the Windsor courthouse was converted into a temporary massage therapy space for the afternoon. A group of Registered Massage Therapy students from Canadian College (including former NSRLP volunteer Cynthia Eagan) offered free mini-massages to SRLs in family court. Others in the courthouse, including court staff and lawyers, also took advantage of this unique opportunity to relieve their stress. Sue Rice, NSRLP Project Manager, and the three NSRLP research assistants – Erin Chesney, Tamara Thomas and Krysten Bortolotti – distributed flyers about the mini-massage opportunity to SRLs and others anxiously waiting their turn in court, or attending the afternoon’s mandatory information session for family court litigants.

The event was planned to raise awareness and focus attention on the chronic stress suffered by many SRLs, described in interviews for the National Study (2013). We certainly got the attention of the media (http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/legalfeeds/2465/law-is-stressful-free-massages-at-windsor-courthouse.html, http://blogs.windsorstar.com/news/courthouse-massages-raise-awareness-of-stress-faced-by-self-represented-litigants)

– the story even made Britain’s Daily Mail on the weekend! http://dailymail.org.uk/news/5747926/Courthouse-massages-raise-awareness-of-stress-faced-by-self-represented-litigants.html#.VLbNxGTF-Q0

Sadly, this will be the only time the mini-massage program will be offered. At the end of the day Friday, word came that the project was being “nixed” by authorities outside Windsor. No reasons were given. http://blogs.windsorstar.com/news/free-massages-at-windsor-courthouse-nixed

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