If you still think that SRLs are excited to be trying out as “lawyers”, watch this new VLOG

If you still think that SRLs are excited to be trying out as “lawyers”, watch this new VLOG

The most common misunderstanding that we encounter when we speak about the 2013 Research Study results is that people are representing themselves in court for reasons including: they believe that they can do as good a job as a lawyer; they are enjoying the challenge of self-representation; or even, this is their chance to get even with the other side by directly confronting them.

The 2013 Research Study – as well as other studies and investigations in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia – shows clearly that the primary motivation for self-representation is a lack of financial resources to afford a lawyer, and/or the result of heavy personal debt and previous expenditure on legal services.

Put simply, those who cannot afford a lawyer cannot even start with one – and those who begin with legal representation often run out of funds and willingness to keep paying (ten, twenty or even fifty thousand dollars later).

Many myths have grown up around the reasons for the staggering level of self-representation in our courts (more than half of those coming to family court, for example). One pervasive myth is that these individuals all “hate lawyers”. Certainly some of those who have paid large amounts to a lawyer and still find themselves representing themselves have complaints about legal services. However our 2013 study showed that previous bad experiences with a lawyer – before this case – did not correlate with a decision to self-represent in this case. In other words, “choosing” (if it could be called a choice) to represent oneself is the result of present circumstances primary among which is money, and not an ideological hatred of lawyers.

This short video sets out the evidence for the reality that the primary obstacle to access to justice and legal representation in Canada is money. It deconstructs the “affordability puzzle”, explaining the complex elements of contemporary consumer decisions over value-for-money and self-help. It also features two SRLs speaking about their own experiences of self-representation.

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Comments (9)

  • bcaptijn

    Why are ordinary consumers coming to court without legal representation? Lawyers have priced themselves out of the market. Only large corporations, or those on legal aid can avail themselves of counsel. This is in-access to justice for the middle class.

    April 21, 2015 at 2:08 pm
    • Larry E Doucet

      It’s a judge lawyer buddy system who wants to give them your pension that you need to live on,it’s been turn in a money racket and a crime against humanity they don’t care about nothing but money,extortion falsely convicted name it there all involved they are more honest than 75 %
      That the people in jail I seen it first hand after the RCMP stole my house and a lot more Barbaric act. The 75 % of the people in jail,then the people in the courtroom these people are getting robbed.

      April 21, 2015 at 7:21 pm
  • Larry E Doucet

    I’m from Nova Scotia I was kick out of my house robbed of over 100,000$ and harraes bullied and tortured at the hands of the RCMPand the justice system because of wrongdoing of others,force to go to court for a two year period,jailed for three weeks kick out of my house because I didn’t want to give my old age pension check to a lawyer,I know what was going on they broke in my house four times I could have executed
    by the RCMP in my own house I called for help instead of helping me the help the crooks it was easier for them to keep on giving all false charges like taking Shrubs of my driveway after they told me to have it surveyed I know what was going on they wanted to catch me with an unlock gun I’m not a murderer like the RCMP,they wanted me to give a lawyer I say 10,000$ to a lawyer if it wasn’t back enough to kick me out of my house they wanted to bankrupt me,I said our justice system need an overhaul we a going like the Nazi a dictatorship where the police beat you if your poor a bunch of cowards,the very poor push them into slavery to pay for all their big pensions I know what going on I’ve seen just about every,and heard some real bad things going on the courthouse by a bunch of dictators,why don’t they tell the judge in some cases go the seen of the crime,don’t rely on anybody in the justice system they do what’s best Lie and they sure get away with it.
    Larry E Doucet Looking for Justice not revenge but those who done this should well punished including the ones in the justice system it was done on purpose no excuses.

    April 21, 2015 at 3:55 pm
  • sudokutea

    Please,why not tell it like it is? People are UNrepresented – NOT self represented.
    There is no real “CHOICE” – please do not perpetuate the myth of “SELFrepresented”
    You are simply not accepting reality. It is a huge disservice.

    April 22, 2015 at 4:42 pm
    • Larry E Doucet

      I’m taking it very serious when you loose or should I say have your house stolen I mean kivk out of your own house because to start the RCMP and all the rest,I my as well say it most people and a licence to steal a lot of said how can they do this well easy when you have cops or RCMP that all they know is lie and all the false charges like it was easier to blame it on an innocent person Thea a dozen crooks my friends even told me I was going to be found dead in a barrel of cooking oil,now I’m once again saying again this kind of work was only done by the Nazis,I’m sorry to have to day this but that what it was like in my place and further more I notified the RCMP that something was not right because I know all to well where these people go there always troble now I want what my house,22 blueberry plants,20 fruite trees,and two years of being harrased bullied and tortured from the top down,that all I asking for justice and may this never happen to no other Canadian citizen.Larry E Doucet

      April 22, 2015 at 9:39 pm
  • Alan

    I found the comment in the video about people being seduced about the availability of resources to self-represent themselves to be kind of interesting. It made me think how at least here for BC small claims court a lot of the official sites keep implying how “simple” the process is to the point where one is encouraged to represent themselves.

    For example, someone having to self-represent as a last resort may at first see a site like this: http://www.justiceeducation.ca/resources/Small-Claims-Court-BC

    You then read quotes like these on it that say: “All of the procedures in Small Claims Court are designed to be simple and something that ordinary people can understand. You can have a lawyer in Small Claims Court, but most of the time, people represent themselves.”

    Then afterwards they would probably see stuff like this that promotes that image even further:


    Unless I am the only one, materials like these from official promoted sources would lead one to believe that you should be representing yourself to a certain extent as the message is the whole thing is designed to be simple and accessible for the everyday person. However, the reality is this doesn’t factor in the randomness where your experience and workload can be substantially different depending on what judge you get as an example.

    April 24, 2015 at 9:21 pm
    • Larry E Doucet

      Well I got one thing to say about the hole court system I’m from Nova Scotia and I know how corrupt the whole system is a law for the and a law for the poor,the only thing I can see,there should be Jurios in the courthouse at all times to see who wrongfully convicted,believe we ain’t got the money that the Senators in Ottowa got,I don’t know who gave these judges all this power but they weren’t given this power by the Canadian people Ottowa is full of lawyers they draft the laws for themselfs to make money and they took this power just like a man that done it in the Second World War,if in certain cases you ain’t got lots of money your going to loose number you can’t trust the RCMP or police because they can get away with lying or anything they do wrong and there not charge,number two they should take a pole to see how many gets charge that are working for the justice system ,number it’s all done in the name of the Queen,my great ancestors were kick out of Grand Pre in the great beportation by the Quenn of the day.mmoumber four it’s design for the rich,it’s in another word becoming a big money racket,if you got no money you don’t even exist to them your nothing just like the Jews that were gas and history repeats itself ,I say that they sit in these board meeting and decide what laws there going to make,in Ottowa all you see on TV is a bunch of kids stealing our money,it’s so corrup that these law makers are 100% more crooked than the poor because they give themselfs there big wages or you might as well say there stealing it.,
      I don’t believe in nothing that’s going on in our courthouse in the name of the Queen if it’s keeps on we are going to be wearing a star on our chest like the Jews we are not far from that,the people in our justice system all they want is money and that’s all they care about I know they stole my house along with thousands of dollars because I wouldn’t give them my small old age pension,they just don’t care about nothing they want to make fast money,and they do anything to get it,I could keep on saying a lot more but that enought for now a communist dictatorship that what we got,Larry

      April 27, 2015 at 1:33 am
  • michael kilbride

    I agree with Alan entirely. We need to better educate the Judiciary. That, in my view is where the rubber meets the road. Until the judges buy into this phenomenon, en mass, we are all left dangling in the courtroom.

    May 15, 2015 at 2:51 pm
  • Robert

    I wouldn’t use a lawyer if they were free. I have got way better results being self represented and frankly I don’t have a law degree but I am already the best family court lawyer in Canada. I’ve taken on Brownstone, Boyd, Divorcemate and defeated them all.

    Lawyers misrepresent people because they are unqualified and do not have the required intelligence to make decisions about other people.

    July 2, 2015 at 2:20 am

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