Services for self-represented litigants

Courtrooms across Canada are seeing growing numbers of litigants representing themselves. This trend is having a wide-ranging impact on the justice system, as documented by the National Self-Represented Litigants Project and the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters.

Many lawyers and other legal services providers are rising to the challenge, finding innovative ways to help self-represented litigants without providing full legal representation. Here are some examples of new service offerings:

  • unbundling: using a limited scope retainer to provide advice on a single aspect of a client’s case;
  • fixed fee services: providing a specific price for the provision of a tangible service, in contrast to the billable hour;
  • coaching for court appearances and dispute resolution;
  • document review;
  • form-filling assistance; and
  • counselling and navigation: helping self-represented litigants understand and navigate complex legal processes.

The National Self-Represented Litigants Project is creating a database of legal professionals who provide these kinds of services to self-represented Canadians. Those interested in appearing in the database should fill out the form provided at representingyourselfcanada.com.

Have an idea for a future Innovation Profile – organization or individual? Share your suggestions by emailing communications@nsbs.org.