Stand For Yourself is a non-profit organization that has a stated mission of coaching and empowering individuals and small business owners to manage their legal issues “efficiently” and “cost-effectively.”
In addition providing coaching, Stand For Yourself educates and provides plain-English instructions to unrepresented individuals on how to approach and access legal information, while connecting them to limited scope (or special purpose) lawyers, those who are interested in providing limited scope services that meet the requirements of each case.
About 59% of Canadians earn between $30K and $100K/year and as such are stuck in a type of limbo as they do not qualify for Legal Aid and cannot afford legal representation, a fee that can easily reach an estimated average of $400/hr. For this reason alone, the majority of potential litigants will elect to give up their case and move on. However, most will regret this decision till the end of their life.
In 2012, the Department of Justice reported that there were about 18K unrepresented litigants in Alberta. It is further projected that about 100K Canadians stood in some form of Court or dispute resolution forum without representation in 2015. During these processed, though the Legal Information Centers of these different courts provide information on how to fill in specific court forms, they do not provide a full process overview (which expands beyond these Court systems). Importantly, these Centers do not provide access to lawyers. Indeed, the Centers seem play an important role for those who understand “what has to be done,” and do not educate litigants about “what can be done.”
Stand For Yourself provides a step-by-step strategy in which potential litigants can have an opportunity to make informed decisions with no restrictions as to specific social and financial barriers. We assist clients as they prepare and manage their litigations, provide them them with plain English legal information with examples, and provide access to legal services for only the steps that require legal representation under the mandate of limited scope (or special purpose) retention.
In contrast to standard do-it-yourself models, in which individuals are isolated without help and have no access to similar mind-set groups, the mandate for Stand For Yourself is to expand the information and access to resources beyond what unrepresented litigants commonly have in hand. Having a one-stop resource for information, questions, and discussion forums can provide individuals some peace of mind. The sharing of experiences on a forum will further empower them to make informed decisions.
Stand For Yourself will focus only on Civil Matters at all court levels, tribunes, dispute resolution boards, etc., and its different services will available to all Canadians.
Our vision is to be the first point of access to any unrepresented litigant or for anyone in need of legal information.