Sunday, December 17, 2006

Canadian Judicial Council Statement on Self-Represented Litigants

Last week, the Canadian Judicial Council issued a Statement of Principles on Self-represented Litigants and Accused Persons.

In presenting the statement, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada and Chairperson of the Council, said:

"The Council views the increasing numbers of self-represented persons who appear in the court system as a serious matter. These principles will assist key participants in the justice system to ensure that self-represented persons are provided with fair access and equal treatment in the courts."
Self-represented litigants are often unaware of the workings of the justice system and can feel overwhelmed by all the rules of procedure.

The set of principles proposed by the Council should guide judges, court administrators, members of the Bar, legal aid organizations in assisting self-represented ligitants understand how the justice system works.

In particular, self-represented parties should be:
  • Informed of the potential consequences and responsibilities of proceeding without a lawyer;
  • Referred to available sources of representation, including those available from Legal Aid, pro bono assistance and community and other services;
  • Referred to other appropriate sources of information, education, advice and assistance.
As well, self-represented persons should not be denied relief on the basis of a minor or easily rectified deficiency in their case.

The Canadian Judicial Council is composed of the chief justices and associate chief justices of Canada's superior courts.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:42 pm

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