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NSRLP, self-represented litigants


It has been 18 months since the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Pintea v Johns.1 NSRLP’s SRL Case Law Database project is tracking the emerging jurisprudence on issues relating to the treatment and management of self-­‐‑ represented litigants by the courts, and we regard the impact of Pintea since that decision came down to be an important topic to address in our ongoing series of detailed reports. Specifically, we wanted to examine how the courts have been applying this landmark decision for self-­‐‑represented litigants since April 2017. In Pintea v Johns, the Supreme Court of Canada endorses the Principles established by the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) regarding self-­‐‑represented litigants (Statement of Principles on Self-­‐‑Represented Litigants and Accused Persons, henceforth the CJC Principles).2 These Principles outline the obligations and responsibilities owed by judges to SRLs and the obligations and responsibilities of SRLs when they participate in the court process. The Principles acknowledge the disadvantage SRLs are at in navigating the complexities of the legal system on their own and often facing counsel on the other side, and exhort judges to take this into consideration in managing cases and rendering decisions. Specifically, Pintea addressed the application of the law of contempt to an SRL and held that the individual in question, who was self-­‐‑represented, could not be held in contempt of an order if he was not made aware of that order.3 As of October 2018, 38 cases reported in our source database (Westlaw) have referenced the Pintea decision in some way. We took a look at how these cases were decided, and how they applied or distinguished Pintea and the CJC Principles.

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