Our Collective Responsibility for Judicial Rudeness: Time to Press Reset

As a finale to our month of focus on “Listening to SRLs and including them as stakeholders”, I want to explore a legal culture that enables and tolerates judges treating SRLs rudely and discourteously.

I do not mean to suggest that all judges behave this way. There are honorable exceptions and I hope they will take some support from this blog post.

For example, I did not notice any Supreme Court justices sniggering behind their hands at Elizabeth Bernard when she presented her arguments to them last December (the first SRL in the SCC for 7 years, she was awesome). Maybe other judges could take some hints on polite behavior from them.

The problem is – they are presently the exceptions that prove the rule. If you are in any doubt about this, please read the stories in the chapter on “Judicial interactions with SRLs” in the Report of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project.

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