Introducing the SRL Case Law Database!

Introducing the SRL Case Law Database!

We are thrilled to bring you the first, preliminary, Report on the SRL Case Law Database, which we have been working on for most of the past year.

The purpose of the SRL Case Law Database is to track the developing jurisprudence across Canada in cases that affect the positions of individuals appearing unrepresented. We are focusing on four themes: “vexatiousness”, cost awards, procedural fairness and accommodations. As the number of cases in the Database grows, we are expecting to be able to highlight patterns and themes relevant to self-represented litigants as evidenced by decisions reported by Canadian courts.

Today’s report – “Introducing the SRL Case Law Database”describes the search methodology we have developed with the assistance of WestLawCanada to identify cases that fall within our parameters. The cases are being read and analyzed by a team of law students under the leadership of Lidia Imbrogno, using a common set of questions and factors (and a peer review model to ensure each case is read at least twice).

This preliminary report presents some themes we have noted in relation to the discussion of “vexatious” behavior by SRLs (only a small fraction of these cases result in formal vexatious litigant designations). This is the largest single group of cases so far. We have some initial observations to share about the concept of “vexatious” behavior generally, including its relationship to gender, and its impact on cost awards, and on outcomes.

As we continue to add cases to the Database (to date we have reviewed only family cases across the country, 2014-2017), we shall be able to present further observations on patterns of judicial decision-making.

We believe that the Database will be of interest and practical use to lawyers, judges, self-represented litigants (SRLs), and the public. In 2018, we will begin to publish detailed research reports on how these cases are being decided across the country and in individual provinces. Once we have completed our searches of family and civil cases back to 2010, we shall publish the complete SRL Case Law Database on the NSRLP website, where it will be searchable, downloadable and free.

We would like to thank our funders, the Foundation for Legal Research, and the Law Foundation of Ontario, for their support of this important project.

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Comments (6)

  • Paul Taylor

    I just want to say what you are doing is bringing fairness tot he justice system. The rich should not be the only ones who have access to justice.

    I would guess that while you are focusing on family law cases, civil law will reveal even more. Particularly in the area of workers compensation law. The case that set the standard or one would think is Shuchuk v. Wolfert​ & Alberta WCB. It was a case of an injured worker who sued the Alberta WCB. His case was initially dismissed, but reverse on appeal. It was then appeal by the Alberta WCB all the way to the Supreme Court and their final word was that the Court MUST give a case a chance even if it has the slimiest of chances. This was also again confirmed in New Brunswick when a motion judge refused to dismiss a claim against the WCB there. However in Ontario very little has changed as Curtis v. WSIB, Dias v. WSIB, and Taylor v. WSIB all were recently dismissed as “vexatious”. Surprisingly Taylor v. WSIB was dismissed one week after the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed the lower court’s decision on Castillio v. wsib, but this case was represented the others were self represented.
    The cases and case information can be found on my website under caselaw civil.

    I will be going before the Court of Appeal for Ontario on my self represented case in less than a week Dec. 18/17 to argue my case should never been dismissed. Only time will tell the test of tales.

    by the way keep up the great work I look forward to reading your papers and reports.

    December 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm
    • Grace Joubarne

      Hi, any chance you could give me the link to the SCC decision, as CanLII does not provide it…it stops with the Court of Appeal decision. Please email to graceplacewellness at Many thanks, Grace

      December 13, 2017 at 7:02 pm
  • Derek Thomspon

    OMG! This is so great . I thank you for this & all your great works . We need people like you & your team to keep believing in us & keep trying to get a fair legal system in place . As the Judges sure do not want to be fair to any SRL

    December 13, 2017 at 12:20 pm
  • Dom Bautista

    Grateful that you included case law from BC: Lalli v Grewal , 2017 BCSC 983. You know how sensitive we are here in the Left Coast. 🙂

    December 13, 2017 at 2:23 pm
  • Twechar

    Fantastic Julie, I can attest to the fact that Alberta Justices are using Vexatious and abuse of process as a means to end litigation in their Courts. Number two on the list is to use security for costs against impecunious SRL’s.

    The CJC ought to be abolished, forgive my disrespect but the aspect of judges judging judges is ineffective! A large populous of the CJC judges who sit on the CJC have committed the same transgressions that are being complained about. It’s similar to when sexual harrasment was an accepted norm under the guise of “office flirtation” until the Cosby,Weinstein and our own version of “keep your Knees together” Robin Camp was taken to task.

    3 things cannot be long hidden…The Sun, The Moon and The Truth. We’re not there yet, but be rest assured we will. And, to all those decent judges out there I applause you as I know you are there also!

    December 13, 2017 at 5:55 pm
  • Elizabeth

    Omg you guys are awesome! Thank you for listening to the Self Reps, and doing whatever you can to support us with the resources we need based on our feedback. Keep up the great work!

    December 14, 2017 at 10:11 am

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