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Prince Edward Island Study on Self Represented Litigants

Year: 
2007
Description: 

Project designed to find out what types of services might realistically be developed and supported to assist self-represented litigants in the Supreme Court.

Status: 

Completed with follow-up project initiated

Jurisdiction: 

Prince Edward Island

Court: 

Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island

Body Responsible: 

Community Legal Information Association of Prince Edward Island

Timeline: 
November 2007 Commencement of the project
June 2008 Study of SRL presented
Development: 
 
In late 2006, the executive members of the Law Foundation approached the Community Legal Information Association (CLIA) to discuss the continuing problem of self-represented litigants in Prince Edward Island's Supreme Court. In the discussion of various approaches that could be tried, the viability of a "Self-Help Centre" was raised. It was agreed that work needed to be done to find out what solutions key personnel in the legal and courts systems thought would be feasible and appropriate to deal with self-represented litigants (SRLs) --and what solutions might be supported (Study of SRL at 16).
 
In November 2007, work on the project was commenced and the final report was released in June 2008. A follow-up Supreme Court Collaborative Law Pilot Project has been initiated. It is funded by the Law Foundation of Prince Edward Island
Purpose: 

The project was designed to find out what types of services might realistically be developed and supported to assist self-represented litigants (SRLs) in the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island (Study of SRL at 4).

Results: 

 
Recommendations:

1. That the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island develop a means of identifying cases involving self-represented litigants so that statistics may be maintained and obtained when required.
2. That CLIA take on the role of developing written materials related to the Supreme Court process and procedures.
3. That CLIA, using recently purchased software, review Court Forms with the object of creating plain language, interactive, PDF documents.
4. That CLIA work in collaboration with the court staff to develop, promote and distribute legal information materials about the court process.
5. That the Supreme Court explore the feasibility of making alternative dispute resolution an integral part of the court process for SRLs.
6. That the Office of the Attorney General expands the current mediation service provided by the Family Law Centre to assist SRLs with the early settlement of child support, child custody and access, and family asset issues.
7. (Notwithstanding the recent announcement of additional funding for legal aid) That the Office of the Attorney General ensures that the availability of legal aid services be increased by raising financial eligibility and expanding civil legal aid to cover a wider variety of family cases and other types of civil disputes.
8. That the Office of the Attorney General establish a Child Custody and Access Office, similar in mandate to the current Child Support Guidelines Office, and providing a similar level of support for people with custody and access issues.
9. That a Law Courts Information Centre be established (Study of SRL at 6).

Revision History:
This summary was last reviewed in Aug 10, 2012:custom:F, Aug 10, 2012:custom:Y.