Access to justice, Court of Quebec, Quebec, Quebec Superior Court, Supreme Court of Canada
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Growing trend of unrepresented litigants is disturbing, says judge

The surging number of unrepresented litigants trying to navigate the complex demands of law and procedure may leave legislators with little choice but to review and enact simplified rules of practice to make justice more accessible, said the chief justice of Quebec’s Superior Court at a conference examining the disturbing trend.

The figures are alarming, with an average of 37 per cent of parties representing themselves in civil matters before Quebec Superior Court, revealed Judge François Rolland. In divorce cases before Quebec Superior Court, 36 per cent of Quebecers are unrepresented litigants, a figure that rises to 42.1 per cent in family matters dealing with child custody and separation. Almost 42 per cent of parties appealing a sentence in criminal matters before Quebec Superior Court are unrepresented litigants while 38.8 per cent of individuals facing a motion that could authorize their psychiatric treatment do not have legal representation, prompting Justice Rolland to remark that if anybody “should be represented it seems to me it’s the treatment cases.”

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This story was originally published in The Lawyers Weekly.

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