Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a lawyer?
Not necessarily.With some hard work, it is possible to manage your own case and reach an outcome as good as if you had been represented by a lawyer.
How much work will it be?
That depends on how much you already know about the justice system. Generally speaking, even for a lawyer, preparing for court is very time-consuming, so when you add on top of that the time needed to learn about the law which applies to your case, it can be a lot of work.
Do I need to speak legalese?
No, and you shouldn’t even try. You can explain yourself using storytelling, short sentences and common words to effectively prepare and present your case.
The other party has a lawyer. What kind of advantage does that give them?
Well, there’s no doubt that opposing counsel will be more familiar with the “territory” and that’s an advantage. On the other hand, no one knows your case as well as you do or cares as much about it and that too is an advantage.
Will the judge treat me differently?
Judges are learning to work with the Self Represented Litigants who are appearing before them more and more often. Although you can’t expect any special treatment, as long as you come to court organized and act respectfully, most judges will understand if you need a little more time to get through the process.
Are there any benefits to representing myself?
In spite of the inevitable stress of court proceedings and hard work they have to put in, most Self Represented Litigants appreciate the sense of ownership they have over their case, know much more about what’s going on with it than if they had handed it over to a lawyer and often, come away feeling empowered as a result.
How much will it cost?
That’s a tough question, because it depends on so many factors, like the level of court you’re at (in the Supreme Court of BC, for example, it usually costs to file documents) and whether or not you actually get as far as a trial. In terms of the coaching and support you can get through Waymark Law, one hour of Basic Service costs $150.00 and usually, from start to finish, you can count on 10 hours total.
What are my chances?
Whether represented by a lawyer or not, this is a question on the minds of most people with a legal dispute and one which is always hard to answer. Everyone wants to think they’ve got the best case but the truth is, rarely is it a “winner take all” scenario and ultimately, it will be the judge, based on the prevailing law and the evidence presented who gets to make the decision. No crystal ball here.