Making the Decision to Self-represent

Are you considering whether or not you will handle a legal matter, particularly a matter that is going to court, without the assistance of a lawyer? The following resources, as well as those listed in the other Preparing for Court sections (see the menu on the left), may inform your decision.


Suggested Resources

This pamphlet from the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta explains some basic points about the Alberta Rules of Court. It may assist you if: you have a legal problem and are looking at your options; you are deciding whether to hire a lawyer or represent yourself; you are already representing yourself; or you have questions for your lawyer about the court process. The Alberta Rules of Court apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. They do not apply in Provincial Court (Small Claims Court). This 2 page full-colour PDF is available for free download.

Related legal topic(s): Civil actions, Legal process, Self-representation

Alberta Resources

An instructional video from the Canadian Bar Association Alberta branch demonstrates the basics of procedure in civil court for non-lawyers. It is about 25 minutes in length, and uses common types of courtroom disputes to explain the kinds of evidence you may need for your case as well as how to organize and present that evidence to the judge.

Related legal topic(s): Courts and court judgments, Self-representation

Family Justice Services are a group of programs and services offered by Alberta Justice in collaboration with the courts of Alberta. This webpage provides general information for those who are representing themselves in a family matter in either Court of Queen's Bench or The Provincial Court of Alberta. Family Law includes all of the legal issues that arise when couples separate or when parties are parenting children together. Family Law does not include criminal charges against a family member, or issues that arise when a family member dies. This site provides general information only.

Related legal topic(s): Adoption, Custody and access, Divorce and separation, Family law general resources, Self-representation, Spousal support

Part of the Alberta Court Services is access to the Alberta Law Libraries. The primary mission of Alberta Law Libraries is to facilitate access to legal information for the Alberta community, including its judiciary, lawyers, citizens, libraries and government agencies. Alberta Law Libraries (ALL) were formed in 2009 when Alberta Court Libraries and Alberta Law Society Libraries were amalgamated. ALL has served the legal community in Alberta since 1885 and use of our collections is free to all who visit our libraries.

Related legal topic(s): Law libraries, Self-representation

The Rules of Court as published by Alberta Queen's Printer are available for free download in PDF format: Volume 1 - Alberta Rules of Court AR 124/2010 at 692 pages and Volume 2 - Alberta Rules of Court Supplemental Information at 506 pages.

Related legal topic(s): Legal process

This website offers information to consider before you sue, if you are being sued, and the process that is involved. Information that is available on this website includes: The Basics; Civil Claim Flowchart; Before You Sue; Is it Worth Suing?; If You Have to Sue Someone; Forms Needed for a Civil Claim; Service of Documents; If You are Being Sued; Mediation and Pre-Trial Conferences; Adjournments; Default Judgment; Preparation for the Hearing; Witnesses; Courtroom Etiquette; After the Appearance; and Appeals.

Related legal topic(s): Small claims court

Booklet developed by Alberta Provincial Court with information on civil law and suing process. It includes information on alternatives and selecting a jurisdiction before suing, costs and time limits, forms and documents, mediation, witnesses, courtroom etiquette, court judgments, etc. It also provides a glossary of terms and examples of forms, as well as information on other resources, such as lawyer referral services, dial-a-law, and civil offices. (PDF - 29 pages)

Related legal topic(s): Civil actions, Civil law, Legal process, Self-representation

This primer, published by the National Self-Represented Litigants Project, is packed with the information and practical self-help tips for preparing yourself, emotionally and technically, for court. It includes a section on self-care tips; a section on preparing for court; a section on appearing in court (generic and not specific for any one jurisdiction, family or civil courts); and finally a collection of ten top practical tips from self-represented litigants on “what works”. This 25-page PDF is available for free download.

Related legal topic(s): Legal process, Self-representation

Going to court? Here are some tips and information on what to do in court. (Video) Produced in coordination with PBLA and Alberta Courts. Video Transcripts are available in :  English | Spanish | French | Arabic | Hindi | Punjabi | Urdu

Related legal topic(s): Civil actions, Legal process, Self-representation

Going to court? Here are some tips and information on understanding your foreclosure matter. (Video) Produced in coordination with PBLA and Alberta Courts. Video Transcripts are available in :  English | Spanish | French | Arabic | Hindi | Punjabi | Urdu

Related legal topic(s): Bankruptcy and foreclosure, Civil actions, Legal process, Real estate and home ownership, Self-representation

This online resource is from the Student Legal Services of Edmonton. Includes information about: General Impressions; Court Procedure; Speak To Sentence; Concluding The Court Appearance; Types Of Sentences; Final Note. This resource is also available for download in PDF form.

Related legal topic(s): Legal process, Self-representation

The Law Information Centre (LInC) can help you get the information you need for civil and criminal matters. At LInC, a professional staff member will help you understand Alberta's court processes. This includes help to: learn about general court procedures; locate and explain court forms; learn about legal advice options; find out about alternatives to court. LInc can also: give you information about civil and criminal matters; explain what court forms can be used; explain the steps to take in making legal applications; refer you to legal and other resources in the community.The web page includes locations for walk-in service and a web form for submitting a question. Or you can phone: Calgary 403-476-4744; Edmonton 780-644-8217; Red Deer 403-755-1469; Grande Prairie 780-833-4234.

Related legal topic(s): Landlord and tenant, Legal process, Legal services, Self-representation

This booklet produced by the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA) explains how the legal process works in Alberta. The booklet has information for people who were legally married and people who lived in a common law relationship.

Related legal topic(s): Family law general resources, Self-representation

Produced by Student Legal Services of Edmonton. Includes information about: The Case Is Called; The Trial Begins; The Exclusion Order; The Crown's Case; The Defence’s Case; Submissions; Decision; Vocabulary. This resource is also available to download as a PDF.

Related legal topic(s): Criminal law general resources, Legal process, Self-representation

Canada/Federal

This website has multimedia presentations (videos) that provide information on presenting a family matters case in Chambers. The website was created by the Law Courts Education Society of  British Columbia but a lot of the information is relevant to other jurisdictions.

Related legal topic(s): Custody and access, Divorce and separation, Family law general resources, Self-representation

An increasing number of persons appearing in the court system are self-represented. In 2006, the Canadian Judicial Council created a statement of principles concluding that “self-represented persons are generally uninformed about their rights and about the consequences of the options they choose.” The Council also underlined the need for better information and tools for those who wish to represent themselves. (PDF - 12 pages.)

Related legal topic(s): Self-representation

This online tutorial created by the Legal Resource Centre explains on what it's like in a criminal courtroom. There are often many people in a courtroom. Knowing who is who, what each person's role is, and what is expected of you as a witness should help you understand what is going on around you.

Related legal topic(s): Legal process, Self-representation