The National Self-Represented Litigants Project recently published its 2015-2016 report
on the background of self-represented litigants (SRLs) in Canada.
This most recent report provides demographic data (age, gender, imcome, etc.) from 73 individuals.
Among the highlights
(from a blog post on the Project website):
- SRLs are clustered in the lower annual-income brackets (below
$50,000 and especially under $30,000).
- There are a significant number of SRLs who earn more than $50,000 a year... but are still unable to afford full representation – or these people
began with a lawyer, but run out of funds.
- In light of the above, it is unsurprising that we continue to see
just over half (here, 56%) of all SRLs beginning with legal
representation, but later reaching a point where they are unable to
continue to afford full representation.
- The pervasive myth that SRLs are only interested in their own cases,
and that Access to Justice is not important to the Canadian public,
seems to be rebutted by the 99% of respondents who ask to be added to
NSRLP’s ongoing newsletters, blogs and other social media feeds. We
continually meet former SRLs who want to work on Access to Justice
issues long after their own case has ended, in order to make the SRL
experience less frustrating for others whose circumstances will also
require that they self-represent.
- Finally – experiences of self-representation, with very few
exceptions, continue to be reported as overwhelmingly stressful,
disillusioning, and even traumatic.
The Project comes out of the work done by the University of Windsor's Julie Macfarlane and receives funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario and the University of Windsor.
Labels: access to justice