Denis Rancourt. I am self-represented in a $1 million defamation lawsuit against me. The lawsuit is described HERE. And many of the legal documents are posted HERE.
The lawsuit has been on-going since the Statement of Claim was filed on June 23, 2011. I filed my Statement of Defence on July 22, 2011.
Since that time, some twenty four (24) motions (or mini-trials) have been filed in the action.
For the first time in my life, after a 23-year career as a university physics professor, I had to stand in front of a judge, over and over again, and try to be heard and understood. I had to write legal documents of all kinds, and learn the complex rules of litigation, on-the-go, always in a rush, as best I could.
For the first time in my life I was aggressively cross-examined out-of-court, without a lawyer, and did the best I could to preserve my rights. For the first time in my life, I had to cross-examine witnesses, five in a row in three days, and then more. I had to cross-examine the university president who fired me, the dean of a law faculty, and lawyers.
I learned about the grand principle known as the "open court principle" (said to be a Charter right) and how it does not apply, by some twisted logic on the mobius strip of legal "principles", to out-of-court cross-examinations where it would be most needed, where the bright light of public scrutiny would be most beneficial.
I learned that there are rules, but that these rules are not followed, and that the judge can make up all the rules he/she wants in order to achieve "a fair and efficient administration of justice": HERE.
I learned that, contrary to the the judicial mantra of "objectivity", at first instance the whole exercise is one of weighing the relative power and status of the opposing parties.
If there is somewhat of a balance in power and status of the opposing parties, then the court becomes an arbitration process to find the compromise that is least likely to be appealed to a higher court or to be negatively criticized within the legal establishment.
If there is a significant imbalance in power and status of the opposing parties, then the court becomes an outright instrument to maintain and strengthen the said imbalance, to preserve "the order of things", and to preserve the reputations and statuses of the illustrious members of the legal establishment (judges and lawyers) involved in the choreographed mobbing that will unfold.
The noncompliant element is processed by the system, using the full force of public (in-court) intimidation, enforcible exorbitant cost orders (for every "failed" step in the process), threats of contempt of court (a criminal offence), direct management of the litigant's time for preparation, and so on.
Public (and/or media) interest in the case provides some protection, but only to the extent that the thus exposed "processing" might impact intra-establishment reputations and statuses of the mobbers, or is perceived by the legal establishment to unacceptably put the entire "justice system in disrepute", thereby making maintaining "the order of things" more difficult.
I may be totally in error in my observations and perceptions and I may have learned false conclusions, but this is what I have learned. (It is a sad state of society that I must add the latter sentence, which is an obvious truism about learning.)