Under The Queen’s Bench Rules, a potential litigant may, in some circumstances, obtain a waiver of court fees by obtaining a Needy Person Certificate. Needy Person Certificates are useful, but challenges exist respecting their scope and availability. This report sets out the Commission’s proposals on improving access to justice for the less advantaged members of our community through fee waivers.
This paper outlines the current issues in Needy Person Certificates, their scope and availability, and the access to justice issues that arise from different rules in different courts. The Commission cites widespread confusion about eligibility, and seeks solutions to issues regarding eligibility and personal representation, stages of the proceedings, and accessibility to the certificates.
The Commission addresses two conflicting viewpoints: that access to justice is reduced by the high cost of litigation and the relatively low value of awards, and that such costs should be higher to deter frivolous lawsuits. The Commission outlines Saskatchewan’s partial indemnity cost regime and compares it to full and no indemnity systems in other jurisdictions, canvassing arguments in favour of each approach.