Self-representation is when one represents themselves at ANY level of the administrative justice and/or court system. We all have a "common-law right" to self-representation. This is a right that we must assert at all times, but it is something that can easily backfire on us.
Arguing your case:
Whether you are arguing your case before a WCB appeals board or the Supreme Court of Canada there are some basic principles you should make yourself familiar with.
When Arguing an Appealing:
When you are arguing your appeal the most important thing is to discuss where the initial decision maker went wrong. DO NOT REARGUE YOUR APPEAL! It will do you no good and you will lose!
So, for example, argue that the decision maker in making their decision made an error of law. Do not beat around the bush get to the point and say "That ….. committed an error of law when they made their decision by...." this way the person reviewing or hearing your appeal will have a very clear understanding.
When representing yourself it is critical important the decision maker understand your position. Ask a friend, ask many friends to be honest and see if they understand, as k them to be a devil's advocate you need honesty.
You can argue your appeal by advance your argument in one of three different ways. It is also important to be very clear as to what argument you are advancing
Error of Law:
This is when the decision maker committed an error of law, broke/violated a law when they made their decision. Most common is they made a decision that was not within their jurisdiction, or that they misinterpreted the law.
Error of Fact:
This is when the decision maker rendered a decision and either missed very important and relevant facts, or ignored them. That the facts if properly included the outcome of the decision would have been different.
Error of fact and law:
This is when the decision maker rendered a decision which was an error of fact and law combined.
Probably one of the most difficult things in life to do is to represent yourself, especially when you are completely invested in the case.
Financially, physically, and most of all emotionally!
Probably one of the most easiest ways to win,
or lose a case is when one loses their cool!
Right to be Treated with Fairness:
Every person who goes before administrative boards & tribunals and the courts is the right to be treated with fairness.
Probably one of the most difficult things in a self-represented person achieving fairness is overcoming the prejudice within administrative board & tribunal systems and the court system against self represented litigants. This is why it is very important depending on the stage you are at to know the rules, the laws, and your Charter Rights.
Interacting with Judges:
The organization in Canada who appoints and manages federal judges is the Canadian Judicial Council (the "CJC") the CJC created the Statement of Principles on Self-represented Litigants and Accused Persons(click the words to download a copy of the principals) It is important to be familiar with these principles, as in many cases judges maybe unfamiliar with these principles. It is also important to know the case of Pintea v. Johns it is a Supreme Court of Canada decision where the Supreme Court of Canada also endorsed the CJC's Statement of Principles on Self-represented Litigants and Accused Persons . In simple meaning this means the SCC has adopted the principles and made them common-law. Therefore this means that the lower courts must follow the principles.
Know the Law:
All WCBs in Canada have a law empowering them. It is very important that you carefully review this law and understand it - well!
The WCBs also have policies as well, which further elaborate on the WCB law. It is extremely important for you to know these policies as well. Also if you have to go to the WCT (Tribunals) then they too also have procedures and polices you should make yourself aware of.
It is always the goal of the other side (employer or even the WCB)
to get you to lose your cool.
This will cause you to lose focus on your case,
miss important facts, steps, or procedures.
This is why people who have money and are smart never, ever represent themselves. Why, because they know they need someone to always keep a clear head to remain emotionless.
What do you do when you cant afford a lawyer/paralegal,
or the free services can't represent you?
You are then forced to represent yourself!
This is why I have setup this page, and this entire website,
which is to guide you through the process.
I have done this so you can learn from my successes and my failures!