People appeared without lawyers in BC Provincial Court 134,358 times in 2016/17. These “self-represented litigants” or “SRLs” face huge challenges that lawyers need to understand, but they also provide opportunities for lawyers to fulfill needs that aren’t being met.
For the last 33 months the Provincial Court of BC has posted an eNews article on its website every week. That’s a total of 142 short news articles on a wide range of topics related to the Court’s work, its judicial officers’ activities, initiatives that help people resolve disputes or navigate the justice system, and efforts to improve the system!
Jason lived a comfortable middle class life until he and his wife, Maria, separated. She was angry and not interested in peacefully working out a separation arrangement for parenting and dividing their assets. With family financial support, Maria hired a lawyer. Jason couldn’t afford one, so he tried to manage the court process on his own.
When people don’t have a lawyer to represent them in court, they may want to have a support person sit beside them during their trial to provide emotional support, take notes and organize documents.
BC Provincial Court judges met with 22 journalists from the Thompson-Okanagan region on September 8, 2017 for a workshop covering various aspects of the media’s work in Provincial Court. When the session ended the verdict was unanimous - both journalists and judges reported they benefitted from the exchange of information and frank discussion.