For a variety of reasons, litigants in Federal Court may choose to proceed with their action without legal representation. While it may be more common in provincial courts, self-representative litigants are involved in proceedings in Federal Courts, including intellectual property matters.
An individual may represent themselves in Federal Court under Rule 119 of the Federal Courts Rules. While the Federal Courts Rules require that companies are represented by a lawyer, Rule 120 permits the Court to grant leave for a non-lawyer to represent a company when special circumstances are met (see for example, UBS Group AG v Yones, 2022 FC 487).
Self-represented litigants and non-lawyer representatives (“Self-Reps”) may pose a challenge for lawyers and their clients, as well as the judicial system in general. Nevertheless, it is important to be professional and respectful, and maintain your obligations to your client and professional responsibilities.
The following are five tips and considerations for counsel facing a Self-Rep: