Coach My Case was founded to improve access to justice in Canada by providing alternative legal services to people who choose to represent themselves as they navigate the justice system. Coach My Case helps those who can’t afford to hire a lawyer but also don’t qualify for Legal Aid.
In 2017, family lawyer and founder of Coach My Case, Marcus Sixta, started providing legal coaching through his firm Crossroads Law. He recognized that many people were representing themselves in court and that they could have better outcomes with some legal assistance in the background. In fact, in some provinces 50 to 70%1 of all family law and divorce cases involve at least one person representing themselves without a lawyer. This can lead to poor outcomes for the individual and it also puts a tremendous strain on the justice system.
The justice system is complicated and confusing and people who represent themselves without a lawyer are at a disadvantage. Self-represented parties usually have worse outcomes than those who have a lawyer representing them. It is unfair when one person can pay for a lawyer while the other struggles to represent themself in court as it often leads to the person with more financial resources obtaining better results.
Also, judges, legal clerks and the justice system in general are not equipped to handle the high volumes of self represented litigants. Clerks and judges are often put in the position of having to instruct people on how to file court forms, what evidence is needed in court, and how to present a case. This can result in court applications being slowed down, adjourned, or even thrown out, which uses up precious court time when there are already massive delays for court cases.
1. http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/fl-lf/divorce/jf-pf/srl-pnr.html and up to 74% according to the Department of Justice.