Representing yourself in court

These handbooks are intended as helpful guides for people who are navigating the justice system without a lawyer to prepare and present their legal case. The Council has created three handbooks that contain a wealth of information on family law, civil law and criminal law in Canada. The information is provided in an easy to understand format, with various worksheets, useful tips, explanations of legal terms and concrete examples to guide litigants throughout the legal process.

Guides for self-represented litigants

Self-represented litigants are persons who appear in court without representation from a lawyer.

The handbooks make it simple for self-represented litigants to access information for each province and territory in both official languages on how to prepare for a hearing, the applicable rules and law, where to find free or lower cost legal help and related resource agencies, among many other things.

It is important to note that while these handbooks cannot anticipate all of the possible situations that may arise, they provide a starting point that will assist and guide litigants. The Handbooks do not provide legal advice and are not a substitute for the advice that a lawyer may provide. The Handbooks provide general information only.

To view the handbooks, click on the links below:

The Canadian Judicial Council is committed to fostering access to justice and equal treatment under the law of self-represented litigants. For more information on the Council’s Statement of Principles on Self-represented Litigants and Accused Persons, please read the full statement of principles here.