Information about Registry Services to Assist Self-Represented Litigants

Please note that until your case is heard by a Judge or Prothonotary, your contact with the Court will only be with staff of the Registry of the Federal Court. Therefore, it is important for you to understand what staff can and cannot do to help you prepare your case.

Most importantly, Registry personnel are not permitted by law to give you any legal advice.

What we can do

  • We can tell you what forms you may need to use and provide you with information to help you fill out some of the forms.
  • We can give you copies of Court forms. These are also available on this website under “Court Process and Procedures - Forms”. Please note that these forms are not forms with blanks to be filled out, but only indicate the standard format, wording and information that must appear in your documents. It is typically intended that you will prepare your own documents and use the forms to guide you.
  • We can briefly explain and answer questions about how the Court works and about our practices and procedures.
  • We will check your forms and other court papers for completeness (for example, we check for signatures, compliance with the Rules and that any cited attachments are present and signed by an authorized person within your province or territory).
  • If we think that your documents do not comply with the Rules, we can tell you why and give you an opportunity to make changes. You do not have to make the changes we suggest. When we think your documents do not comply with the Rules, we send them to the Court (a Judge or a Prothonotary), who will decide if they can be filed.
  • We can give you basic information about mediation, motions or other court hearings.
  • We can give you information about how your case is being managed and the process involved in each step along the way to having your case heard by the Court.
  • We can provide Court lists and information on how to get a case set down for hearing.
  • We can give you information about interpreters and court reporters.
  • We can serve as a Commissioner of Oaths to swear/affirm any affidavits prepared by you, to be filed in the Federal Court.

What we cannot do

  • We cannot give you legal advice. It is strongly suggested that you seek legal advice before commencing a proceeding.
  • We cannot recommend the name of any lawyer to act on your behalf.
  • We cannot advise you in which Court to initiate your proceeding, or which procedure to use, should there be a choice.
  • We cannot tell you what words to use in your court documents and affidavits.
  • We cannot contact you to advise when your documents are due to be filed.
  • We cannot tell you whether you have included enough information in your court papers.
  • We cannot tell you what to say in court or how to make your legal arguments / submissions to a Judge or Prothonotary.
  • We cannot tell you what the decision of the Court will be or give you any opinion about what it might be.
  • We cannot interpret orders made by a Judge or Prothonotary.
  • We cannot change an order that has been made by a Judge or Prothonotary.
  • We cannot allow you to communicate with a Judge or Prothonotary at any time, other than at your Court hearing.

Registrar, Federal Court
July 2008

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Date Modified: 2012-08-23