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Old 07-07-2008, 12:31 PM
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Default Self Representation

Hi,

The Canadian Bar Association journal is running an article on self-representation - it seems this is something more common in Family Law court than in other courts: http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/...a7a3211b0e&p=1 and
http://www.cba.org/CBA/National/Main/

Not having represented myself in court before, I was wondering if anyone can explain why individuals are more inclined to represent themselves in Family Law court than in other courts...
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:30 PM
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One word, the money saved. Many of the working poor don't qualify for legal aid but cannot really afford a lawyer. The are only two alternative left:

Walk away and abondon the situation or something worse your child;

-or-

Self represent your action.

I think the decision is easy to make!


lv
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Old 07-08-2008, 06:47 AM
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that's 3 words lv LOL
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Old 07-08-2008, 09:26 AM
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I will only self-represent when I can no longer afford my lawyer. My ex has legal aid, so there is no way I'm testing my luck against an actual lawyer in court. It would be different if the ex was lawyer-less, because I think I would have the advantage there.
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Old 07-08-2008, 11:37 AM
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I ditto your sentiments, About Time.

My ex won't dare to go to court if she didn't have legal aid. So, we work hard and pay taxes so the gov't in turn can create legal aid to punish us for doing just that. Perhaps that's why families don't break so easily in third world countries.
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:10 PM
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I know individuals that have been to court so many times it would make your head spin. Its not that their position is unreasonable, it's just more or less the other side is represented by legal aid so there is no early settlement.

Would you settle early if someone was footing your leagl bills?

Another factor is the majority of legal aided funded litigants are seldom awarded costs against them even if their position is unsuccessful.

Seems to be a flaw in the system in itself.

lv
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:10 AM
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Here’s what little I learned over the years;

The family court is no friendly place. As a self rep, it is meant to intimidate you, shame you, belittle you, demean you, etc. If you get lucky, it goes the other way. A veteran criminal lawyer friend said to me, “he still gets nervous and, anxious before every appearance;” he’d be concerned if I wasn’t. By the time you have arrived at trial, I would hope, you have had at least a few appearances before the justices. If you were a self rep from the beginning, you would have gotten a taste of the distain the justices have for self reps. It will not get any better during trial. It will make your job allot tougher and the usual common sense stuff like (knowledge) does apply. You are not supposed to be there, the judges don’t like you being there! Family court is about money first and foremost. Without this money there is no billion dollar industry as is the case today. As a self rep you stand in privilege which basically means you can address the court. You are in front of someone who has dedicated their career to a very complex task and wields so much power over your life. You are in front of someone who yields the power over everything you hold dear in your life…..including your future and the future of your children. The family court has gotten away from applying the law to managing families which gets swayed by social climates and hidden agendas. In my opinion; the answer is to entrench the laws in equality and further, families’ have dignity rights, which should to be preserved over all else.

There is growing problem with the increase of self reps in family law. It is being addressed at the highest levels at the Canadian Judicial Council. The Canadian Judicial Council provides the secret training for our judges. They have no interest in looking at the reason’s why there are so many self reps rather just how to deal with the situation (the business end of it $$$$). This is were article’s such as this, originate from.

The general public at large knows that family law in this country is broken. Even on the national front, word has spread to foreign countries. Until equality in family law is entrenched in law, there can be no fundamental justice. Certainly a minority government won’t touch such a controversial issue. The last government deflected the real issues by making it all about gay marriages. It is important to understand the political environment you will be operating in.

or;

SillyMe
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:12 AM
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From surfing the web, and participating in this forum, I see that the Family Law court procedures are spelled out on several websites and there are places to get help when going to Family Court (eg. Family Law Information Centre).

So, the legal system itself is promoting self-representation in Family Law court, even though (according to the CBA Journal article, which is biased towards the legal profession), self-representation is a detriment - both to the legal profession and, possibly, to future respondents/applicants subject to jurisprudence.

Then when you throw the legal aid element in, ie. individuals being able to prolong the process at no cost to them, the likelihood of self-representation increases as one, with few available funds, faced with a lengthy court case would choose to self-represent.

In civil court there are statutes of limitations. In criminal court there are rights for the accused to a speedy trial. Why not similar rules around Family Law court?
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SillyMe
There is growing problem with the increase of self reps in family law. It is being addressed at the highest levels at the Canadian Judicial Council. The Canadian Judicial Council provides the secret training for our judges. They have no interest in looking at the reason’s why there are so many self reps rather just how to deal with the situation (the business end of it $$$$). This is were article’s such as this, originate from.
After representing myself I must admit I wondered how this all works out money wise too. I did my VERY best to make sure I had all my "t"s crossed and my "i"s dotted, did my research, was never late, filed what I needed on time, etc... however even with everything I prepared myself for, there was still a LOT of time wasted because of how the "system" works that I couldn't plan on. And since my ex didn't even do NEAR the prep work I did, that too slowed down our court experience because of appearances wasted because he was completely unprepared. If that happened with me and my ex self-representing, I can only imagine the amount of court time that is wasted with so many of us self-representing.

On the other hand, what are we to do? The law allows us to represent ourselves (thank goodness!) Lawyers are VERY expensive. I had one for a little while, and of course ran out of funds by the time it became necessary to go to court. The law was on my side, so I wasn't too worried. I was able to make use of the duty counsels who are available at the court house. And still time got wasted because my ex did literally NO homework before coming to court.

I have to wonder how it works out cost-wise with all us self-representers, vs possibly making legal representation a little more affordable so that court time is more efficiently used.

hmmmm....
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:05 PM
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Another factor in Family Law is that perjury often runs rampant and often goes unpunished. Unfortunately there are some lawyers that use such tactics to misrepresent their clients position. On that basis, perception as a whole is a significant factor! Call it as you will, smoke and mirrors.
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