Osler News

Insiders and Outsiders – National Self-Represented Litigants Project podcast

Nov 20, 2017 2 MIN READ

In a recent podcast called “Insiders and Outsiders,” Colin Feasby, Managing Partner of Osler’s Calgary office, talks to Julie Macfarlane, a law professor at the University of Windsor and Director of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP), about his pro bono work for a self-represented litigant in Pintea v. Johns. This was the first time a case had been heard by the Supreme Court of Canada on how self-represented litigants are treated in the justice system.

Colin and Osler associates Sean Sutherland and Adam LaRoche represented an individual at the Supreme Court who had previously represented himself before the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Court of Appeal. As a result of the individual’s lack of compliance with some of the directions of the Court of Queen’s Bench, his action was struck and costs of approximately $80,000 were awarded against him. The dissenting judgment in the Court of Appeal noted that the individual was self-represented, his claim was likely meritorious, he was disabled and the costs award was unfair. The Osler team applied to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal on the basis that the Court of Appeal made errors of law and on the basis that the Supreme Court needs to provide guidance to lower courts on how to effectively deal with unrepresented litigants. Justice  Karaktsanis, speaking for the whole Supreme Court, held that the appeal was allowed and the contempt order overturned.

In the podcast, Colin discusses a number of topics relating to the case, including what motivated him to get involved, the impact he thought the decision would have and what he felt was the most important outcome of the case.  

The “Insiders and Outsiders” podcast is part of series called Jumping Off the Ivory Tower with Prof JulieMac in which Julie talks with “visionaries, social justice warriors, and legal system ‘disrupters’ about their motivations and how their experiences have changed them – for better or for worse.” The series is produced by the NSRLP and covers a range of social justice topics, including “stories of self-represented litigants, innovation and change in the legal profession, work on sexual violence, racism and Islamophobia, disability rights, and legal education.”

According to its website, the NSRLP works to promote dialogue and collaboration among all those affected by the self-represented litigant phenomenon, both justice system professionals and litigants themselves.

Listen to the podcast “Insiders and Outsiders.”