Self Represented Litigants

Individuals contemplating litigation, or any other form of third party adjudication, have to be aware of the following unwritten, but immutable rules:

Rule 1: Never represent yourself in court. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the self represented litigant to maintain objectivity in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of her/his case, and perhaps more importantly, the strengths and weaknesses of his or her opponent’s case.

Rule 2: Unless you represent yourself in court, it is highly unlikely you will ever be able to afford the cost of going to court. A typical Supreme Court case in Nova Scotia will generate tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees for any party represented by a lawyer.

Rule 3: If you do find yourself in court as a self represented litigant, learn the key essentials of the litigation process so that you can improve your chances for a positive outcome.

ANM Legal Services offers “boot camp” training in the litigation process.

A. How do I know whether I have a case that can be litigated in court and, if I do, how do I know whether I should go to court?  Is it financially worth it?  What’s the worst that can happen if I lose?

B. What are the strengths and weaknesses of my case, and how do I determine the same for my opponent?  What are my realistic chances of success?

C. How do I determine the evidence required to prove my case and what does the “balance of probabilities” mean anyway? How do I gather the evidence I require? What is the importance of documentary evidence and how does it differ from the oral evidence of witnesses? How do I present evidence in court?  How do I cross examine a witness?

D. Why are there rules of procedure in court? How can I ever hope to understand them and to use them properly to my advantage?

E. What are the best practices to follow in court? What is the adversarial process and how do I engage in the adversarial process to my advantage? What are the essential do’s and dont’s in court? What are the sure ways to turn off the judge and what is required to win the judge over to my view of the facts and the law?

ANM Legal Services offers basic training in all of the essentials of the litigation process. We do not suggest you will become a lawyer, and we can never guarantee the outcome of your case. It is possible, nonetheless to achieve a much higher degree of proficiency in representing yourself and in winning the court over to your view of the case.

We can assist in one, more, or all of the above areas and the costs to  you will range between $100 and $500 (plus HST) depending upon how much assistance you  wish to have.