The number of unrepresented litigants is rising. Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada Richard Wagner recently told a group of students that approximately 25% to 30% of those applying for admission to the Supreme Court of Canada are unrepresented and can’t afford a family lawyer.
Self-Represented Litigants: The New Normal
Unrepresented litigants are becoming more common, as people often can’t afford a family lawyer. In lower courts or administrative tribunals, it is common for litigants to be self-represented. For example, people often do not have lawyers for landlord tenancy disputes. Often lower courts are designed so lawyers are not necessary.
For example, the BC Provincial Court system for family law matters and small claims is intended to be user-friendly so that people do not need to hire lawyers.
Similarly, the Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”) is an online process designed to be used without lawyers. The CRT can deal with