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NSRLP, self-represented litigants


Introducing the Self-Represented Litigants Case Law Database Over 200 Canadian decisions have now been read and analyzed for the Self-Represented Litigants Case Law Database (CLD) by a research team at the National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP). The purpose of the Database is to track the emerging jurisprudence in all levels of courts across Canada, and to present findings that highlight patterns and themes evident within decisions reported by Canadian courts from coast to coast. Self-represented litigants, or SRLs, face a variety of obstacles and challenges throughout trial proceedings. Cases identified and analyzed in the CLD highlight four issues that the NSRLP has noticed are raised with increasing regularity where one or both parties are self-represented: (1) the description of SRLs as vexatious litigants or as engaging in “vexatious behaviour”; (2) requested accommodations that are either declined or accepted; (3) questions about procedural fairness and judicial assistance; and (4) the nature of costs being awarded for or against the SRL. For a more detailed description of our methodology and the parameters we are focusing on, please see the Preliminary Report published in December 2017. The Use of Gender Stereotypes by Judges As more cases have been added to the CLD, some initial observations have emerged. One of these relates to the use of language suggesting gender stereotypes in decisions that involve a female SRL. While the sample size does not allow for a statistically significant analysis, this report describes a number of case study examples of this phenomenon within the CLD.

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