What are the costs of going to court alone?

Linda, a Public Policy grad student at SFU, is part of a group researching the costs of self-representing in court.
Linda, a Public Policy grad student at SFU, is part of a group researching the costs of self-representing in court.

Going to court without a lawyer is a daunting task. It’s also not that uncommon. It’s estimated that half of all family law litigants don’t have a lawyer. If you look outside of family law, it can get as high as 80% depending on the issue and court it’s being tried in. We know that self-representing can take a toll — both on the person and the court system — but we can’t put a dollar value on that toll.

Getting a sense of the costs is just what a group of graduate students from Simon Fraser University is trying to do. A group of Public Policy students is in the middle of a research project looking at the monetary costs of self-representation in court. They want to put a dollar value on this process, including looking at missed work, time spent preparing for court, and court fees.

In the end, these students want to create a better understanding of the experience and impact of self-representation so that the justice system can develop better strategies to help those who have to go to court by themselves.

Right now, these students are looking to gather some information from people in BC who have, or are currently, representing themselves in court. If that’s you, please take a few minutes to fill out their online survey.