Judges Assisting SRLs

Judges Assisting SRLs

This month the NSRLP would like to highlight a recent decision by the Honourable Madam Justice Kristjanson of the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario. The case – Sae-Bin Im v. BMO Investorline Inc.explores the extent to which judges must assist self-represented litigants.

In the case, Mr. Im brought a motion seeking leave to discontinue the action, with the intention of then bringing a new application for the same cause of action against the same parties. Justice Kristjanson, in hearing this request, recognized that this new application would not be brought within the two-year limitation period set out in the Limitations Act, and as a result would be unlikely to succeed.

In identifying that Mr. Im did not understand the consequences of his choice, and was both under- and misinformed on how this would affect his case, Justice Kristjanson explained clearly the limitations consequences that he would likely face should he move forward with this request.

Justice Kristjanson states that when a SRL is about to make a “critical choice, based on a clear misunderstanding of the law and procedure…” there exists a “…responsibility as a judge to explain the relevant law and its implications, remaining sensitive to the interests of the respondents”.

The decision is an example of treating SRLs fairly by making accommodations to ensure that they are able to represent themselves adequately. The evolving case law on judicial assistance to SRLs and other related issues is now being tracked by the NSRLP, and upon completion will be published as a new resource.

Read the case in full.

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Comments (4)

  • allen Reply

    Now here is a judge who knows what a judge’s role is within the context of adversarial nature of of the courtroom. What happens in most courtrooms (well in Alberta) is the judge actually tells the SRL to do the fatal thing that wrecks their case but very often they argue the case for the lawyer.

    There was a SRL case at the SCC not too long ago where in the dissent the judge talked about the rights of SRLs to represent themselves and I was told it talks about how much help the judge is to give (but I never really verified this part of it). If memory serves me right the case was called Beckford

    March 13, 2017 at 11:01 pm
  • tom tupper Reply

    this is scc discrimination-I already tried to get leave over this but when lawyers try to get leave they get it.in NSCA the judges all represented top ns lawyers and wouldn’t help me-the defence gave NO arguments against my appeal,then the SCC judges again represented top lawyers so I complained about the scc judges to the CJC who wouldn’t allow that type of complaint!!!!!
    I am still appealing scc rules as a constitutional violation rule 73-do you want a copy of how I tried to fight this a SCC ?my scc decision had NO comment about why my leave application was about to hide it from the public.
    I guess the don’t give leave to poor disabled {thalidomide} people sueing rich lawyers.
    do you want a copy of my cjc complaint.

    March 15, 2017 at 1:47 am
  • Laura MacNutt Reply

    I am SRL for pending Appeal which deals with this issue. http://pier101.ca/copyright-blawg.html

    There is a delicate balance for Judges so that they aren’t advocating for opposing representated party, however, there is a desperate need to provide meaningful support for those of us who find ourselves without legal counsel due to financial barriers.

    March 17, 2017 at 6:27 pm
  • tom tupper Reply

    I tried to sue lawyers-they used summary judgment/vexatious to stop me-at all levels of court they never gave arguments so the judges had to fill in their defence/represent them and at every level there was NO analysis-to give analysis they had to give all the arguments/case law of the defence if they support their side-so no analysis =there was no defence and the case was fixed to protect the lawyers-an obstruct justice strategy.
    had there been a defence lawyer rules say they cant hide case law they know about{they would discover more if defending} in hope that we don’t discover it=unethical.type in”stare decisis and techniques of legal reasoning”
    Which also says it is unethical and intellectually dishonest for a judge to ignore case law that stands in the way of his decision=the defence wont give case law and the judge wont do defence lawyer research-so case law/evidence will not be heard and will not be there for a SRL to use/defend our case.
    So the judges should be forced to do the defence research if the defence wont do it so case law isn’t covered up and justice obstructed.HOW much more bias could judges be than to make sure case law isn’t used that hurts the defence-and law firms need help fighting poor SRL’s !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    March 21, 2017 at 3:09 am

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