THE RISE OF SELF-REPRESENTATION IN CANADA’S FAMILY COURTS: THE COMPLEX PICTURE REVEALED IN SURVEYS OF JUDGES, LAWYERS AND LITIGANTS

  • Rachel Birnbaum
  • Nicholas BalaandLorne Bertrand
Keywords: Family Law, Litigation, Access to justice, self-representation, courts

Abstract

This article reports on four interrelated studies on self-representation by family litigants: a study of family litigants in Ontario; a survey of perceptions of lawyers in Ontario and Alberta; and a study of Canadian judges. There has clearly been an increase in self-representation in family cases. Lack of financial resources is the most significant reason for self-representation, but a significant number of the self-represented do not believe that they will have worse outcomes without a lawyer. Lawyers and judges report significant concerns about lack of representation, including fewer settlements and a slower process, with corresponding increased expenses for a represented party.

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Published
2013-05-01
Section
Legal Commentary