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NSRLP video played in AB court 
Plus: New SRL resources from the CJC
And: CanLII links to NSRLP resources

Video on self-reps and NSRLP played in
Alberta Court of Queen's Bench case 

On Friday, March 5, 2021, the Honourable Justice Michael J. Lema at the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta accepted as evidence, and played for all parties in a civil case, a video of Dr. Julie Macfarlane introducing 2018 Ontario Civil Liberties Award (OCLA) recipient Donald Best. Julie discusses Donald's experience as a self-represented litigant, his efforts for access to justice advocacy, and the work of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project.

Many lawyers, the judge, court staff, and many litigants and witnesses saw and heard this video during the video hearing. All the parties were served with copies of Dr. Macfarlane’s and Mr. Best’s OCLA video speeches. Mr. Best, a witness for the Plaintiff in this case, commented on what happened after the court played the video: "It is fair to say that Prof. Macfarlane's statements about corruption in the legal profession and the plight of self-represented persons in our courts first shocked and then deeply moved all at the hearing. No one spoke for some time after the video ended, and then one of the lawyers said in a serious manner, 'I feel that we should take a moment of silence to think about what we've just heard.'”

As a self-represented person, Mr. Best had been convicted 'in absentia' while not in Canada during a hearing he was not notified of. Later, sworn affidavit evidence by former Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police Julian Fantino and others proved that Mr. Best had been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned upon false evidence fabricated by lawyers and placed before the court while Mr. Best was traveling in Asia. The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) presented its 2018 Civil Liberties Award to Mr. Best for his anti-corruption work.

Watch the Video Here

Canadian Judicial Council publishes
new handbooks for SRLs

We note with great interest that the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) has just published three resources for self-represented litigants: a handbook on Family Law, a handbook on Civil Law, and a handbook on Criminal Law
The CJC notes, “the handbooks make it simple for self-represented litigants to access information for each province and territory in both official languages on how to prepare for a hearing, the applicable rules and law, where to find free or lower cost legal help and related resource agencies, among many other things.”
We are always delighted to see more resources for self-reps, and these seem to be very thorough guides, although we are disappointed that NSRLP was not consulted on their development, when we might have been able to help (and not “recreate the wheel”). In particular, we are interested to get the thoughts of self-reps themselves on resources developed for them. Are you or have you been an SRL? If so, and if you have a little time to take a look, we’d love to know what you think about how useful these handbooks are, and if NSRLP should promote them. Let us know at

Find the CJC Handbooks Here

CanLII links to NSRLP materials

We're delighted that the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) is eager to share our primers and reports on their site! They have recently updated their page listing our materials, and it's a handy spot to find NSRLP research reports, primers, and other practical resources for self-reps, all in one spot.

CanLII is a wonderful, free database resource available to all Canadians, where you'll find court judgements from all Canadian courts, legislation from every jurisdiction in the country, and case commentaries and summaries written by the legal community (including NSRLP). 

For tips on using the database to do your own legal research see our CanLII-approved (and soon to be updated!) primer, available in English and French

Find NSRLP on CanLII Here

National Self Represented Litigants Project
University of Windsor - Faculty of Law · 401 Sunset Avenue · Windsor, On N9B 3P4 · Canada

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National Self Represented Litigants Project · University of Windsor - Faculty of Law · 401 Sunset Avenue · Windsor, On N9B 3P4 · Canada

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