NSRLP-E Blog

Understanding the Trauma Associated with Representing Yourself

We recently published a great report by our intern, Brent Campagnola on Understanding the Experiences of Self Represented Litigants in Nova Scotia. 

The Report details some of the challenges faced by persons representing themselves in court including:

  • Negative Emotional Experiences;
  • Finding it difficult to navigate the system alone;
  • Feelings of frustration when they are denied legal aid or counsel;
  • Feeling overwhelmed and unheard in court;
  • And not feeling like the justice system produce what was promised: Justice.

I highly recommend reading the report as it has some very moving and important first voice experience.

One major finding from the analysis of this first voice data is that almost 50% of participants indicated that they experienced personal trauma as a main theme in their story. This was more likely if a self represented litigant identified as being a member of an equity-seeking group.

Indeed, in analyzing the data Brent found that Indigenous self represented litigants were more likely to experience trauma as a theme of their legal proceedings than persons who identified as not belonging to any equity-seeking group.

This data statistic indicates the importance of implementing a more trauma-informed justice system in Nova Scotia.

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