PLEASE NOTE: In certain limited circumstances, you may qualify for a government-funded lawyer. Visit the websites for
DALHOUSIE LEGAL AID SERVICE >>
or the NOVA SCOTIA LEGAL AID COMMISSION >> for mor information.


General Information

FREE LEGAL CLINICS

Free legal advice in private, one-hour sessions for self-represented litigants dealing with certain types of cases in the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal.

MORE INFO >>

 

FREE GUEST WI-FI ACCESS

Expanded guest WiFi is now available at courthouses across the province. This free service is for lawyers, self-represented individuals and others visiting the building. Check at the front counter and a temporary user name and password will be provided.

PLEASE NOTE

Users must follow the policies for using electronic devices in courthouses and courtrooms.

READ THE POLICIES HERE >>

Legal proceedings can be very complex - not only what goes on in the courtroom, but also the process leading up to your court appearance. As well, each type and level of court has different procedures and forms. For example, the CIVIL PROCEDURE RULES OF NOVA SCOTIA >> govern proceedings in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal and the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, including its Family Division.

The following page is a collection of the information available on this and other websites that may help you prepare if you are planning to represent yourself in court.

Brochures with step-by-step instructions, frequently asked questions, and examples of court forms for each type and level of court are available on this website. There is also more specific information and practical materials for lawyers, which self-represented litigants may find useful. They are located in the FOR THE BAR >> section of this website.

HOW TO...

Order a CD of the audio recording of your trial - ORDER AN AUDIO RECORDING >>
Apply for a publication ban in your case - PUBLICATION BANS >>
Access court decisions for cases that may be similar to yours - DECISIONS OF THE COURTS >>
 

Family Law Practice Tips

For more than 15 years, Justice Douglas C. Campbell presided in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court - Family Division. During that time he regularly published practice tips for family law lawyers that drew on his previous experience as a senior family faw practitioner in Halifax. These practice tips are meant to help family law lawyers specifically, but they may also be helpful for litigants who are representing themselves in court on family law matters.

Click here to access Justice Douglas Campbell's FAMILY LAW PRACTICE TIPS >>

Representing Yourself in Small Claims Court

HALIFAX SMALL CLAIMS COURT NAVIGATOR PROJECT

The Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia (LISNS) is working with Court Services to assist self-represented litigants appearing before the Small Claims Court.

Volunteer navigators can provide free support over the phone and in person. Call 1-800-665-9779 or email smallclaimshelp@legalinfo.org to make an appointment. 

The Small Claims Court of Nova Scotia provides a timely, less formal and reasonably cost-effective forum for the resolution of certain types of claims, to a maximum of $25,000. This Court also functions as the initial forum for appeals from decisions of Residential Tenancy Officers, affecting both tenants and landlords, and disputes between lawyers and their clients regarding fees and other financial issues.

The Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia has developed several innovative resources to help prospective litigants considering an action or who are representing themselves in Small Claims Court, including its public navigators project. Small Claims Court Navigators can attend court with self-represented litigants as a form of support. They can also assist with:

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Court preparation
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Gathering evidence
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Filing forms
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Accessing legal information

Small Claims Court Navigators do not:

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Draft documents
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Provide legal advice
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Speak on your behalf in court


Individuals representing themselves in Small Claims Court can also click on the links below for help preparing an action. After reviewing these resources, you have the option to go to a courthouse or fill out the claim forms online: INTERACTIVE SMALL CLAIMS COURT FORM >>

WATCH SELF-HELP VIDEOS ON REPRESENTING YOURSELF IN COURT >>

Representing Yourself on a Family Law Matter

If you are planning to represent yourself in court on a family law matter, there are things you can do beforehand to help prepare and present your case. A good place to start is by reading the "GOING TO COURT" WORKBOOK >> It contains information about:

~
Getting legal advice;

VIDEO RESOURCES

The Nova Scotia Department of Justice has produced videos to assist individuals representing themselves on family law matters before the Supreme Court - Family Division.

PRESENTING YOUR CASE IN COURT >>

YOUR DAY IN COURT >>

(Les vidéos sont disponibles en anglais seulement)

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Proving your case;
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What to expect during the court hearing; and
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What happens at the end of the court hearing.

To help you to prepare your case, this workbook also includes helfpul WORKSHEETS AND CHECKLISTS >>

This resource is a collaborative effort of the Nova Scotia Judiciary, the Nova Scotia Department of Justice - Court Services Division, and Nova Scotia Legal Aid. It can also be found on on the NOVA SCOTIA FAMILY
LAW WEBSITE >>

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has also produced a helpful GUIDE >> to make a motion for state-appointed counsel in child protection matters. This step is available only to those litigants who have been denied Legal Aid representation.

Representing Yourself in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal is the province's highest court. It is generally the court of last resort for Nova Scotians seeking to have their lower court or tribunal decisions appealed, except in the very few cases that further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Court of Appeal does not re-try cases, but reviews the record of the trial or hearing to ensure the lower court or tribunal made no errors of law.

The Court of Appeal has developed several resources for people who want to represent themselves in an appeal:


Representing Yourself in Probate Court

The Probate Court provides for the protection of heirs, legatees, and estate creditors. It provides a forum for adjudication without monetary limits and holds the authority for the appointment of executors, administrators, appraisers, and guardians in relation to all estate matters within its jurisdiction. It also has the supervisory authority for the proper management and distribution of estate assets, the approval of legal fees, and the setting of executors'/administrators' commissions and expenses.

The following are some helpful resources if you are planning to represent yourself in Probate Court:

Getting Started: DEALING WITH AN ESTATE >>
Tips & Hints from the Registrar: HOW TO AVOID HAVING YOUR DOCUMENTS REJECTED >>

In English En Français
THE PROBATE ACT - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS >> Loi sur les successions - Questions et réponses
DEALING WITH AN ESTATE >> Guide à l'intention des requérants sans avocat
GRANT OF PROBATE - CHECKLIST >> Lettre d'homologation - Liste de vérification
GRANT OF ADMINISTRATION WITH WILL ANNEXED - CHECKLIST >> Lettre d'administration testamentaire - Liste de vérification
GRANT OF ADMINISTRATION - CHECKLIST >> Lettre d'administration - Liste de vérification
PASSING THE ACCOUNTS OF AN ESTATE IN PROBATE COURT -
CHECKLIST >>
Approbation des comptes d'une succession par la Cour des successions - Liste de vérification
USING A SUBPOENA IN PROBATE COURT >> Utiliser une assignation dans la Cour des successions
HOW TO PREPARE THE FINAL ACCOUNT OF THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE >> Représentant successoral : comment préparer la dernière reddition de comptes


Other Legal Resources

CANADA'S DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WEBSITE >> provides general information about the country's laws, the justice system, and the Courts.

LLRX.COM >> provides information and links to print and online resources which will give you an excellent overview of how the Canadan legal system operates.

NOVA SCOTIA'S DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WEBSITE >> offers more specific information for self-represented litigants including:

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tips for representing yourself in court
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self-help information guides
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answers to frequently asked questions
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information about, and links to, court forms
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contact and other information about the Province's in-person family law information centres


Ces renseignements sont disponibles en français - Le site en français >>

THE FAMILY LAW NOVA SCOTIA WEBSITE >> offers information relating to the law, the processes, and the services that make up family law in Nova Scotia. It will help you understand your family law issue and will provide tools to help solve your problem.

THE LEGAL INFORMATION SOCIETY OF NOVA SCOTIA WEBSITE >> offers a wide variety of general and specific information about Canada's and Nova Scotia's laws, the Province's justice system, and the courts. In addition "LISNS" provides specific legal information over the phone. And it offers a lawyer referral service which can provide preliminary legal advice for a small flat fee.

LISNS LAWYER REFFERAL SERVICE >> connects you with lawyers in private practice from across the province who are registered with the LISNS Lawyer Referral Service. You will be given the name of a lawyer in your area who works with the kind of law you need. The lawyer you are referred to will see you for up to a half hour for a set fee of $20 (plus taxes). During this half hour you will be able to discuss your problem with the lawyer and get an idea of what your options are and the costs involved.

THE NOVA SCOTIA BARRISTERS' SOCIETY WEBSITE >> includes legal information as well as contact information for the Province's practicing lawyers. The Society is the public interest regulator of the legal profession. It is the licensing and disciplinary body for lawyers. It sets and maintains standards, ensures responsibility through regulation, and works to enhance access to justice.

LINKS TO OTHER WEB-BASED LEGAL RESOURCES >> can be found on the resources page of this website. In addition to access to such documents and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, this page offers links to the websites of other Courts in Canada and to the decisions (judgements) of all the country's Courts and Tribunals.

REACHABILITY >> is dedicated to equalizing the playing field for people facing barriers. Through unique partnerships within the disabled, Aboriginal, African Canadian and new immigrant communities, this organization has created programming that fosters pre-employment skills and employment opportunities for all Nova Scotians facing the sting of stigma. reachAbility also offers clinics to help with filling out court forms and other legal preparation.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS >> is a page on this website which provides answers to the most common questions about the Courts of Nova Scotia.

PLEASE NOTE:

This information is representative of the kinds of resources available for those considering representing themselves in court. It is not a complete list. However, the websites suggested offer links to even more online resourses and information that you may find helpful.