Friday, June 28, 2013

Access to justice is a fairy tale, self-represented litigants conclude

A study of self-represented litigants in B.C., Alberta and Ontario showed lack of representation is creating a crisis of faith in the legal system.
The final report of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project says the country’s justice system isn’t working unless you’re rich enough to afford a lawyer.

Written by University of Windsor law professor Julie Macfarlane, the 147-page document is a litany of despair and a depressing glimpse inside the courthouses of three provinces.

“While some of the most extreme reactions border on the paranoid, many self-represented litigants appraise their experience in a rational and balanced way in coming to the conclusion that the justice system is ‘broken,’” Macfarlane reports.

“Their basic complaint is clear — that instead of a user-friendly, practical means of resolving disputes, the courts offer a false promise of ‘access to justice.’”  (more...)

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