What is the test for unrepresented litigants at trial?

Ontario, Canada


The following excerpt is from Douglas v. Mitchell, 2009 CanLII 42451 (ON SC):

As the Court of Appeal stated in Davids v. Davids: Fairness does not demand that the unrepresented litigant be able to present his case as effectively as a competent lawyer. Rather, it demands that he have a fair opportunity to present his case to the best of his ability. Nor does fairness dictate that the unrepresented litigant have a lawyer’s familiarity with procedures and forensic tactics. It does require that the trial judge treat the litigant fairly and attempt to accommodate unrepresented litigants’ unfamiliarity with the process so as to permit them to present their case. In doing so, the trial judge must, of course, respect the rights of the other party.[10] [Emphasis added]

Other Questions


Can a summary trial judge make a finding that a matter is not suitable for disposition by way of summary trial during the hearing of the summary trial? (British Columbia, Canada)
What is a reasonable time for an offer to be made at trial if an offer is not made within a specific time from the start of trial? (British Columbia, Canada)
What is the test for an application to re-open a trial to establish a fact not in existence at the close of trial? (British Columbia, Canada)
What is the test for changing a jury trial to a different jury trial? (Saskatchewan, Canada)
In what circumstances will the trial judge allow the parents of a plaintiff to participate in the trial? (Saskatchewan, Canada)
What is the value of a plaintiff's income for the period between the time of trial and the date of trial? (British Columbia, Canada)
What is the test for reducing the length of a trial to a truncated trial? (British Columbia, Canada)
Is there a risk to the trial of this report if this report is excluded from the trial? (Ontario, Canada)
What is the test on an application to adduce fresh evidence that existed at the time of trial but was not placed before the trial court? (British Columbia, Canada)
Is the order of a trial judge dispensing with a jury during the course of the trial consistently treated as an exercise of the exercise of his discretion? (Ontario, Canada)