A Nova Scotia study of the needs of people who representthemselves in court has attracted interest in countries as faraway as Hong Kong and Australia and will be featured at anational meeting of court administrators being held this week inHalifax. Acting Justice Minister Ernest Fage says the self-representedlitigants project is another example of streamlining the justicesystem to make it more accessible for Nova Scotians. “I want to thank the project team and advisory committee that ledthis project, and members of the public who answered surveyquestions,” said Mr. Fage. “The report’s 20 recommendations willadvance our goal of providing the best service possible forpeople who want to represent themselves in court.” The department surveyed 40 judges, 163 court staff and 58 peoplewho represented themselves in legal proceedings. Of those who didnot use a lawyer, 40 per cent said they did not need or want one,34 per cent said they could not afford one and 26 per cent saidthey couldn’t get legal aid. The project team also sat in on 20court hearings. Among other findings: people who represent themselves in courtoften do not have enough information to do it properly; theywould clearly benefit from additional resources such as brochuresand do-it-yourself kits; most are involved in cases beforefamily, criminal and small claims courts and; they need the mosthelp early on, before they file documents with courts. The study and its recommendations will be discussed at theAssociation of Canadian Court Administrators Spring LearningEvent being held in Halifax, today to Wednesday, March 31 at thePrince George Hotel. The self-represented litigants needs assessment study isavailable on the website atwww.gov.ns.ca/just/publications/publications.htm .