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NSRLP, self-represented litigants


Over 200 Canadian decisions have now been read, analyzed, and added to the Self-Represented Litigants Case Law Database (CLD) by researchers at the National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP). The purpose of this database is to track the emerging jurisprudence at all levels of courts across Canada, as it relates to self-representation, 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 unique obstacles and challenges throughout trial proceedings. Cases included within the CLD focus on 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 being 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 focus of case parameters, please see the Preliminary Report published in December 2017. This paper highlights leading cases where costs awards have been ordered for self-represented parties, and analyzes how these principles have developed in family law cases.

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