The Canadian Government Announces a Plan to Deal with a Growing Number of Self-Represented Litigators
As many law-students know, self-representation is one of the most prevalent symptoms of an underfunded justice system. Many who find themselves too poor to afford basic necessities are still considered “not poor enough” to qualify for public assistance. Without representation, these people struggle to assert their Charter rights against seasoned Crown Attorneys with the entire power of the law behind them. As a way of evening the playing field while cutting more costs, the Government of Canada has announced in a landmark initiative that, as of January 2018, the Crown must be represented by Queen Elizabeth II herself, sovereign of Canada.
Ideally, the Queen’s lack of a formal legal education would empower the hordes of self-represented litigants who pester the government with their demands for affordable legal services, and provide them with an opponent with the same level of legal education – none. However, those closest to the 91-year old monarch believe that she has the ambition to become a formidable prosecutor. As one of Her Majesty’s aides says:
“She’s ready to go… After the announcement, I walked in on her practicing her podium lean while seamlessly reciting Latin tongue twisters like spells from Harry Potter.”
Some recently dismissed Crown Attorneys worry about Regina’s eagerness to prosecute crimes. The Charter was introduced in 1982 – well after Britain stopped paying attention to Canada entirely. The Crown’s discretion is a dangerous thing without an appreciation for our Charter, especially so in the case of self-represented litigants.
Queen Elizabeth tells us herself (while maintaining a dazzling one-handed lean):
“While I am prosecutor, the Crown will not concern itself with the Charter, zippers, or any other non-British invention. In my mens rea, they’re void ab initio.”
However budget-savvy it is to let Queen Elizabeth represent the Crown in Canada, the move appears as yet another instance of the Canadian Government patching up the justice system with bubblegum instead of, at the very least, duct tape.
No logistics have been announced, and no word of how many Corgis will be allowed in each individual court room.
Shanil Patel (2L) is De Minimis Editor for Juris Diction