Why many Canadians are forced into court without a lawyer

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Two-thirds of cases in family court now include at least one person who's defending themselves without the help of a lawyer. The stats climb to 70 per cent in civil court. Few do so by choice: they simply can't afford counsel. They're forced to navigate complicated legal issues and protocol alone, with little to no support from the judiciary. They often face stigma, or are branded as troublemakers.

University of Windsor law professor Julie Macfarlane interviewed over 250 self-represented litigants. Her study was published this month. It reveals a pattern of fear, anxiety and disillusionment with the justice system. One of the participants interviewed is Jennifer Muller. We speak with both.

 
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