By Mick Hassell
How much help should Courts give to self-reps?
The Supreme Court of Canada is going to rule on a case that will affect self-represented litigants across the nation.
The case is Valentin Pintea v. Dale Johns, et al. and a summary of the case is available by clicking here.
In a nutshell, the Court will address how far a Court should go to help a self-rep with poorly expressed legal argument, to what extent Courts should give leeway to self-reps on procedural issues, and the legal test for civil contempt as applied to a self-rep.
The questions, elaborated, are as follows:
- To what lengths should a court go to make sense of a self-represented litigant’s poorly expressed legal position?
- Should courts apply a contextual approach that recognized self-represented litigants’ lack of understanding of court rules or procedures, or should court rules and procedures be applied identically to all litigants?
- Is the current law of civil contempt applicable to self-represented litigants or is there a different standard that applies when a litigant does not have the benefit of representation by a lawyer?
The Self-Rep Navigators are following this leading case with interest, as it will impact all those who we serve.