Julie Macfarlane, Denise Barrie, Chief Justice Michael MacDonald; shining stars of CBC’s Self-Representing Litigants special

“I think that the huge rise in the number of self-represented litigants in recent years is in some ways the great undiscussed issue of the legal system… More than half the people in Canadian family courts are there without lawyers…”

“We have a procedure in the legal system which has been around for a very long time, called ‘summary judgment’. It’s a way of forestalling or ending a case prematurely before it continues through the processes using up judicial and legal time. We found that there has been a huge rise in the number of summary judgment cases in the last ten years, and that most of those cases are now being brought where there’s a lawyer on one side and a self-represented litigant on the other.”

Julie Macfarlane, National Self-Representing Litigants Project; quoted in CBC’s The National feature The New Litigants #TheNewLitigants

“Sit down and SHUT UP!”

by Donald Best

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Over fifty percent of people appearing before Canadian family courts are self-represented litigants, yet according to CBC’s New Year’s Eve special The New Litigants, judges are still telling citizens representing themselves before the courts to “SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!”

Nova Scotia Chief Justice Michael MacDonald has a different idea. He instituted an educational program for self-represented litigants. Justice MacDonald is a leader who deserves praise.

The legal system is the good ship Titanic; trying desperately to steer clear of the deadly iceberg named ‘Injustice’. The rudder has been put full port; but will the heading change in time?

The CBC special above is well worth 18 minutes of your time.

Donald Best

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