Experiences of Ontario Family Litigants with Self-Representation (Birnbaum and Bala)

It’s not easy being a self-rep

Professors Rachel Birnbaum and Nicholas Bala have been in the vanguard of Canadian academics looking at what being a self-represented family law litigant means for the professionals in the family law system and for the self-reps themselves.

“Many of those who don’t have lawyers are unable to afford lawyers and are concerned about the effects of lack of representation on outcomes, including on their relationships with children and issues of domestic violence.”

This paper looks at the experiences and perceptions of litigants in the family justice system in Ontario, both those with and without lawyers, about issues related to self-representation and access to justice.

“A significant minority, however, report that they have chosen not to have representation, and lack of financial resources was not the prime reason for this; many in this group do not believe that a lack of representation will have a negative effect on their outcomes.”

This is the first Canadian study to directly explore the experiences and opinions on access to family justice issues from the perspective of family litigants.

If you’re interested in what the studies show about how self-reps feel about the current system and how well they do, this is a great article to read.

Click below to read the study