Our Updates


The Bonkalo Review of Family Legal Services in Ontario Justice Annemarie Bonkalo was appointed in February 2016 by the Ministry of the Attorney-General (or MAG, the legal department of the Ontario government) and the Law Society of Upper Canada (or LSUC, which oversees the legal profession in Ontario) to lead a review of who can offer family legal services in Ontario. At that time, only lawyers could offer family legal services. Paralegals, who offer some types of legal assistance, were [...]

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 [...]

NSRLP Advisory Board Welcomes Chief Justice Derek Green and Dean Lorne Sossin

We are thrilled to welcome two new members to our terrific, cross-Canada Advisory Board. Our diverse and the NSRLP team to set priorities, brainstorm new ideas, enlarge our network of contacts, and of course, our wonderful board members share their own expertise with us. Chief Justice Derek Green Chief Justice Derek Green of Newfoundland and Labrador is a strong and outspoken voice in the national conversation on Access to Justice. Justice Green’s open-minded stance in the search for solutions to the [...]

Are you a Family Lawyer? Do You Have Ideas About Legal Coaching? Fill out our Lawyer Survey Today!

As we reported in our last newsletter, the NSRLP has embarked on a major project involving “legal coaching,” another form of unbundled legal service delivery we believe responds to the needs (and budgets) of self-represented litigants. Legal coaching is a form of unbundling that envisions an ongoing relationship between the lawyer and the client from the start of the file, empowers clients to take the next step in their litigation on their own, and provides them with more control [...]

Julie’s Blog Wins a Second Clawbie!

We’re thrilled to announce that Julie’s Blog on the NSRLP website has won a 2016 Clawbie Award! The Canadian Law Blog Awards (Clawbies) were established in 2006 by Stem Legal as a way to  highlight great blogs published by members of Canada’s legal community. The Awards are affiliated with lawblogs.ca, which tracks 485 Canadian legal blogs and podcasts; the Clawbies’ leadership reports that, “the consistent theme of the content posted in these blogs is the ongoing journey towards a better, [...]

Great New Legal Resource for Ontarians

Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) has recently launched a fantastic provincial resource titled, Steps to Justice.ca, which provides reliable, easy-to-understand explanations of  legal topics such as custody, sick leave, rent increases, harassment, common law, discrimination, and severance pay, among others.   When self-represented litigants have to navigate a sea of online legal information, it can be very hard for them to locate trustworthy, authoritative sites. Steps to Justice provides accurate, authoritative information, with the goal of helping regular Ontarians understand Ontario’s [...]

NSRLP Research Fellow Nikki Gershbain to Develop New Legal Coaching Model

The NSRLP is thrilled to announce that we are embarking on a major project in 2017 to develop and promote a “legal coaching model,” led by NSRLP Research Fellow, Nikki Gershbain! This initiative has been developed in response to the needs of self-represented litigants, who told us as part of our National 2013 study that, in order to make their way through the justice system, what they really needed was someone in their corner who could provide ongoing, compassionate support [...]

A New SRL Resource in Ontario

Swift Action provides sample documents to help SRLs with Ontario small claims cases. David Turner says that precedent is the first thing that every lawyer looks for in preparing a case, and precedent is what he seeks to provide to SRLs with his website, Swift Action. Swift Action provides downloadable “Case-Packs,” which are comprehensive sets of sample court documents, forms and filings for the Ontario Small Claims Court. Case-Packs cost $30-$50, and provide a complete context surrounding fictitious cases, as [...]

NSRLP Board Reviews 2016, Sets Ambitious Goals for 2017

NSRLP’s Advisory Board assembled in Windsor two weeks ago to review our work during 2016 (see the NSRLP Year in Review: 2016), and set priorities for 2017. As always, our annual face-to-face meeting produced a stimulating and productive discussion. There was a strong sense among Board members that many of NSRLP’s 2016 projects – for example, the National Database of Professionals Assisting SRLs, as well as ongoing law school projects educating the lawyers of tomorrow about the realities of the [...]

Our Latest News

We’ve had a very busy month here at the NSRLP! We hope you’ve seen our beautiful updated website, but if you haven’t, go check it out now! We had a lot of fun making a video featuring top Canadian justices, to support the unbundling of legal services and our new National Database! Speaking of which, we’ve had lots of attention for our big new resource, the National Database of Professionals Assisting SRLs! We’ve also released a companion resource to the National Database, The [...]

Small Steps Towards Big Goals

Other news in brief: A new study (funded by the Nuffield Foundation) will start shortly in Northern Ireland on the impact of self-representation in the family and civil courts, led by Professor Grainne McKeever from Ulster University School of Law. NuLaw Lab at Northeastern University School of Law is expanding its menu of interactive SRL video games with a new grant from the Legal Services Corporation. RePresent – a simulation of self-representation in small claims court, was “road-tested” before its launch [...]