Dr. Julie Macfarlane

Dr. Julie Macfarlane, Project Director, is Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Windsor as well as Professor of Practice at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Julie has researched and written extensively on dispute resolution and in particular the role of lawyers (for example her best-selling 2008 book The New Lawyer : How Settlement is Transforming the Practice of Law). She became interested in learning more about the personal experiences of self-represented litigants as they become a increasingly significant interest group in the justice system, leading to the National Self-Represented Litigants Research Study (2013). Julie is an experienced mediator, facilitator and conflict resolution educator who is committed to access to justice and the modernization of the justice system. For more information about Julie, please see her university webpage.

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2 thoughts on “Dr. Julie Macfarlane

  1. Dr Macfarlane

    I have been reading your articles with great interest and agree with much of your message.

    In an effort to assist self represented litigants, I have launched a website that provides links to FREE information and guidance so that they may be better informed when addressing their legal issues. I would appreciate your support in making Canadians aware of this website and any suggestions you may have to improve the content.

    Four years ago, I ran into a problem with a builder here in New Brunswick. I acted on my own behalf in initiating a civil action which is still on-going and initiated a private prosecution of the builder under the criminal code of Canada which was later assumed by a special prosecutor and resulted in a conviction for fraud over $5000.

    Through my experience, I have gained a certain perspective of the Canadian legal system and agree that there is a definite need for change. However, my experience has led me to believe that the problem is not with the legal profession but rather with judges who drag out court proceedings and add an element of unpredictability which greatly increases the cost by not following the rules of the court.

    As an example, in my case the builder has failed to follow five court orders to provide discovery of documents and has failed to appear at two discoveries and after 4 years has still not provided disclosure. I have made four motions to strike the statement of defence in accordance the rules of the court. If the judge had followed the rules of the court, discovery would have been completed within 3 months and the trial would have been completed years ago.

    I would therefore humbly suggest that any first step in a call to action would be to strictly enforce the rules of the court including prescribed deadlines for submissions so that there may be a more efficient administration of justice. This would not only shorten trial times but would add some much needed stability in the administration of the justice system that would ultimately lead to greatly reduce costs.

    Keep up the great work and I look forward to reading more of your articles.

    With Regards,

    Guy Groulx

  2. It’s great that somebody is looking into this. I just had to bring a motion for restraining order on my own and if that wasn’t scary enough I waited to be processed thru the police checkpoint my ex and his parent came up right beside me. It’s not easy going into court as a SRL, but if you don’t do it then nobody else will.
    It’s a fight for Justice .
    Some of us are better equipped and others not so much; especially when you have a lawyer or two you must go against. It helps if you have a Judge that understands your lack of knowledge adjacent to your much good intentions. In London Honourable Madame Justice Marshman has been brilliant. Unfortunately I haven’t been before her since 2011, but she has a way of calling it like it is, and explaining the law and legal term so nobody leaves her courtroom confused nor unclear on proceedings. She’s as awesome as Judge Judy.
    My hope is that coaches can be appointed so people like me don’t go and copy the wrong laws done and mess up the family law rules with the rest of the law rules.
    I don’t think we have any in London but perhaps one day.
    Regards,
    Jenn R.

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