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Former Superior Court of Justice Maurice Cullity is the winner of the Ontario Bar Association Award of Excellence in Trust and Estates Law.

“I feel greatly honoured to receive the award,” Cullity told Law Times in an email.

In 1979, Cullity joined the law firm of Davies Ward & Beck and was a partner there until 1997, when he was then appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division), now the Superior Court of Justice, according to the OBA.

After Cullity left the court, he returned to private practice writing opinions on estates matters until his eventual retirement at the end of 2014.

“Maurice has left a legacy of multiple achievements in the development of the law in the areas of estate planning, tax, estate and trusts, and this OBA award of excellence represents a small token of respect and appreciation from those he touched,” said Archie Rabinowitz, partner at Gowlings WLG, in a press release.  

Cullity will be honoured at an award dinner on May 31 in Toronto.
Erin Dann has received the Dan Soberman Outstanding Young Alumni Award from Queen’s University.

This is not the first award for Dann, who graduated from Queen’s Law, where Dann won the Medal in Law for achieving the highest cumulative average in the class of 2007, according to a press release from Queen’s University.

“Since entering private practice in 2010,” said dean Bill Flanagan in presenting the award, “Erin Dann has quickly emerged as one of Canada’s brightest young criminal defence lawyers.”

As well as working on high-profile cases, including several appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada, Dann is a session co-ordinator for the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute, speaks regularly at continuing legal education seminars and lectures at Osgoode Hall Law School.

“Any measure of early success in my career is due in large part to my experience at Queen’s Law and to the many members of the faculty and staff who took a personal interest in my development as a law student,” said Dann in the press release. “They continue to offer me support and guidance.”

Allen & Co. LLP and Berkeley Counsel announce the merger of their law practices to form Ingenuity LLP in Toronto.

Since 2010, the firms have approached every client relationship with the same goal — to provide top-tier legal advice at a small-firm cost, Ingenuity said in a press release.  

Beyond its experience in traditional areas of corporate law practice, Ingenuity said it has particular expertise in drafting shareholder agreements, advising restaurateurs and retailers in establishing new venues, establishing and selling solar power generating facilities in Ontario, representing issuers and agents in the areas of mining finance and M&A, advising technology start-ups and advising employers on wrongful dismissal, workplace human rights and sexual harassment issues.

A Law Times column states that privacy may be a quasi-constitutional right but it does not receive the protection that it deserves. We asked readers if they think there is a need to overhaul the Privacy Act.

Sixty-nine per cent said yes, there are legitimate reasons for Canadians to be concerned about the protection of personal privacy, while 31 per cent said no, the laws are fine as they exist now.
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Stephen Grant, a partner at Grant Crawford & Watson LLP, has been named the winner of the Ontario Bar Association Award of Excellence in Family Law, in Memory of James McLeod.

The award recognizes outstanding OBA members for their accomplishments in the development of family law, their leadership in the profession, their ability to take on and advance precedent-setting cases and their involvement in advancing the practice of alternative dispute resolution, said the OBA in a press release.

“In light of the overall excellence of the family bar, it’s very gratifying to be receiving this award,” Grant told Law Times in an email.

Grant is known as a selfless and tireless teacher, mentor and author, according to the OBA.

“As someone who has both faced Stephen in court and fought side by side as partners, I can honestly say that I much prefer the latter,” said Gerry Sadvari, counsel with Grant Crawford & Watson, in the press release.

“As a leader of the family bar for decades, there is no better family law counsel active today and no one more deserving of this long overdue award.”

This award is in memory of James G. McLeod, an esteemed and much respected lawyer who has been referred to as “the most influential figure in family law in the past 25 years” and who died at the young age of 57, said the OBA. The celebration honouring Grant will take place June 12 in Toronto.

Loly Rico has been named the recipient of the Spirit of Barbra Schlifer Award.  

The award is given annually to a woman whose work demonstrates a commitment to changing the lives of women who experience violence for the better.

As founder and co-director of FCJ Refugee Centre in Toronto, Rico is a recognized leader for the rights of refugee women facing violence, said the clinic in a press release.

“It is very special because the Barbra Schlifer award has a lot of meaning, especially for women who have been in situations of violence,” said Rico, in an email.

Miller Thomson LLP welcomes two new lawyers to its Toronto office. Associate counsel Damien Buntsma was previously with Lawrence Lawrence Stevenson LLP, while associate Stephanie De Caria comes via Fogler Rubinoff LLP.

Buntsma’s practice area is labour and employment, while De Caria’s expertise is in insolvency and commercial litigation.

The federal government has tightened security at the federal courts in order to improve safety, such as installing metal detectors.

We asked readers if they thought this was a good investment.

Sixty-one per cent said yes, having people go through metal detectors and getting their belongings screened will improve security.

Thirty-nine per cent said no, lawyers should not be subjected to security screening as it will be an inconvenience.
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The president of the Ontario Bar Association says he’s “cautiously optimistic” that the government finally has a plan in place to make e-filing a provincewide reality following the launch of a pilot project for online filing of civil claims by the Ministry of the Attorney General.

“The Ontario Bar Association has long advocated for an e-filing system in the Superior Courts of this province,” David Sterns told Law Times.

“This pilot project is an important first step in this direction.” 

The first phase of the pilot project, launched April 24, allows for e-filing of civil claims in the Superior Court of Justice in Brampton, Ottawa, London, Newmarket and Sudbury.

“The government has shared with us its plan and timeline for the creation of an e-filing system for all parts of the province covering all filings in Superior Court,” says Sterns.

“We are cautiously optimistic that it finally has the plan, funding and team in place to make this happen.”

Emilie Smith, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, told Law Times that the provincial government “is committed to making the justice system simpler and faster for all Ontarians.”

Smith says the pilot service allows the filing of the following documents with the Superior Court of Justice: statements of claim, notices of action, affidavits of litigation guardians for plaintiffs under disability, request for bilingual proceedings and consent to file documents in French.

“In Phase 1, users will be able to e-file documents online to file a notice of action or statement of claim for all proceedings, pay court fees online and receive court-issued documents by email,” says Smith.

“In future phases, users will be able to e-file additional documents that are part of their civil claim.”

The pilot period is expected to last up to six months.

Robichaud’s Criminal Defence Litigation opened its new criminal law office in London, Ont. on May 1. The new office will serve as Robichaud’s third Ontario location, along with its main Toronto and York Region offices. Robichaud said it hopes to open more localized offices throughout the province in the coming months.

Torys LLP announces two new hires in its Toronto office.

Jill E. McCutcheon joins as partner, while Kelly Morris signs on as senior counsel. McCutcheon and Morris bring their expertise in bank and insurance regulatory matters to their new firm.
Both were previously with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Toronto where they each served as partner.

Law Times reports that the LSUC has approved a sliding cap for referral fees for lawyers. We asked readers if they think changes to the rules will bring increased transparency to the referral process.

Twenty-nine per cent said yes, the new changes will increase public confidence in the profession, while 71 per cent said no, there is no guarantee this will bring enhanced transparency, as it’s unclear how the new rules will be enforced.
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Paul Jonathan Saguil is among a group of lawyers being recognized by the Ontario Bar Association for their contributions to the practice of law in the province.

Saguil, of TD Bank Financial Group, will receive the OBA’s Heather McArthur Memorial Young Lawyers Award for his “exceptional” contributions to the development of equality rights jurisprudence and to legislative and policy reform to benefit members of equity-seeking groups, said the OBA in a press release.

“I stand here with and because of many others who have paved the way and who keep fighting the good fight,” says Saguil.

“Although we celebrate what we have collectively accomplished thus far in trying to, for example, address challenges faced by racialized licensees, keep legal education and the justice system accessible and inclusive, and strengthen the protections available for the LGBTQ2S communities and other vulnerable groups, we still have a long way to go in making this profession and this country truly more just and equitable and we cannot afford to become complacent.”

Other award recipients include: Christopher Arthur W. Bentley of the Ryerson University Law Practice Program, Craig R. Carter of Fasken Martineau and Orlando V. Da Silva of the Ministry of Attorney General, who are winners of the OBA’s Award for Distinguished Service; C. Katie Black, judicial affairs advisor to the minister of Justice and attorney general of Canada, winner of the inaugural David Scott, Q.C., Award for Pro Bono Law; and Sarah Clarke, Sébastien Grammond, Anne Levesque and David Taylor, winners of the OBA’s President’s Award for their work representing the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, pro bono, in its efforts to secure equality for First Nations children in Canada.

Michael J. Bryant will be the guest speaker at the annual meeting and dinner of the Medico-Legal Society of Toronto, to be held May 17 in Toronto.

Addiction Verdiction for the Medio-legal Practitioner will be the theme of the speech by Bryant, who served as Ontario’s attorney general from 2003 to 2007.

The evening will also include the presentation of the 2017 Medico-Legal Society Award, the society’s highest honour, to Dr. Laura Hawryluck, associate professor of critical care medicine at the University of Toronto.

The Law Foundation of Ontario opened a new call for applications to fund innovative legal projects in the area of family law through its national Access to Justice Fund.

The call for applications includes one round for small grants of less than $15,000 and one round for major grants of up to $250,000. The deadlines for applications are June 30 and Oct. 2, respectively. Full details can be found at:

In a recent report, Justice Michael Tulloch said there is “no reason” why the director of the province’s Special Investigations Unit needs to be a lawyer. We asked readers if they agreed with Tulloch.

Forty-one per cent said yes, there is no reason why the head of the SIU needs to be a lawyer, especially given that this is not a requirement in other places, while 59 per cent said no, the role requires a specialized knowledge of criminal investigations and the professional expertise a lawyer brings.
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A certification motion for a class action lawsuit against Deloitte LLP involving document reviewers has been adjourned for 60 days while class counsel seek a new representative plaintiff.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba certified the action April 13, but it is still subject to court approval of amendments to the proposed class definition and the replacement of the representative plaintiff, Shireen Sondhi.

The court gave lawyers for the plaintiffs until June 12 to find a new representative plaintiff or the action will be dismissed. Sondhi v. Deloitte Management Services LP, Deloitte & Touche LLP and Procom Consultants Group Limited was first filed in March 2015 and sought $384 million on behalf of hundreds of lawyers working at a document-review company Deloitte acquired in 2014.

The action alleges that document reviewers working for Deloitte were misclassified as independent contractors and should have been employees.

The claim seeks compensation for unpaid vacation, unpaid statutory holiday pay and unpaid overtime.

Lawyers for the plaintiff class said in a press release that the ruling is a “significant step forward for misclassified workers who do not have the same protections as employees.”

“This certification motion shows that employers who misclassify employees as contractors can have substantial liability towards those workers, no matter what the contract says,” said plaintiff class lawyer Andrew Monkhouse.

None of the allegations has been proven in court, and Deloitte denies liability. A spokesperson for Deloitte said, “We believe that the claim has no merit and we will vigorously defend the class action. As the matter is now before the courts, it is not our intention to discuss the matter publicly.”

Professor Rachel Birnbaum of Western University is inviting lawyers and mental health professionals to complete a survey on the use of smart technology for increasing parent-child contact after separation or divorce. The survey link is:

Shalini Konanur, executive director of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, has been awarded the 2017 OBA Award of Excellence in the Promotion of Women’s Equality.

She oversees SALCO’s litigation, advocacy and outreach on issues that impact low-income South Asian Ontarians.

Recreational marijuana use will be legalized, and lawyers say there will be an increase in criminal charges and civil cases as a result. Readers were asked if they supported pot legalization.

Seventy-three per cent of respondents said yes, while there will be an impact on the courts, the overall social benefits of legalization are positive, while 27 per cent said no, the move to legalize marijuana is short-sighted and will lead to negative social results, including longer court delays.
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Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould announced Ontario appointments under the new judicial application process.

The new process, unveiled Oct. 20, 2016, emphasizes transparency, merit and diversity, and it will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity, according to the federal government.

David M. Paciocco, a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice in Ottawa, is appointed a judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. He replaces Justice J.I. Laskin, who elected supernumerary status effective Sept. 1, 2016.

Deborah Swartz, a sole practitioner in Kingston, Ont., is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice and a member of the Family Court in Kingston effective April 10. She will replace Justice C. Robertson, who will become a supernumerary judge effective April 10.

Wilson-Raybould also announced Shaun S. Nakatsuru will become a Superior Court of Justice judge in Toronto to replace M.A. Sanderson, who became a supernumary judge June 20, 2016.

Nakatsuru currently is a judge with the Ontario Court of Justice.

Robyn M. Ryan Bell, a partner at Bennett Jones LLP, is appointed a judge with the Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa. She will replace G.P. Smith, who became a supernumary judge Oct. 30, 2016.

Seven Canadian organizations have been recognized and awarded for their efforts to advance gender equality.

Baker McKenzie, Scotiabank, Teck Resources, Critical Mass Women, BMO, Catalyst and Thomson Reuters were chosen as the winners by the public via online voting, organized by the Canadian Chapter of the UN Global Compact Network Canada.

The awards recognize the initiatives taken by the companies to adopt the UN’s seven Women’s Empowerment Principles.

The seven organizations have demonstrated outstanding leadership with practices that are aimed directly at addressing gender inequality, the Global Compact Network Canada said in a press release.

The University of Toronto Faculty of Law has announced the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipients — Melissa Kennedy, executive vice president and chief legal officer and public affairs at Sun Life Financial Inc., and Herb Solway, a founding member of Goodmans LLP. The Wilson Prichard Award went to Michelle Henry, a partner in the labour and employment group at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Toronto, and Claire Hunter, a partner at Hunter Litigation Chambers in Vancouver.

Recently, Law Times reported that the Law Society of Upper Canada had issued an eight-month suspension to a lawyer, Sarah Jackson, who admitted to providing heroin to a friend who later died from an overdose. We asked readers if they think the suspension is fair.

Thirty-six per cent said an eight-month suspension is fair, given that Sarah Jackson was acquitted of manslaughter and found not guilty of criminal negligence causing death.

Sixty-four per cent said an eight-month suspension seems like too little, given that Sarah Jackson did not report criminal charges she was facing to the LSUC.
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Canada’s Blaney McMurtry LLP is one of the founders of a new, multi-jurisdiction legal network launched last month by law firms from North America and Europe.

The Insurance Law Global network, which will provide a global service to insurance clients, also includes founding law firms Weightmans from the U.K., LC Rodrigo Abogados of Spain and Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin of the U.S.

“We are very proud to be a founding member of the Insurance Law Global network, an organization created to meet the increasingly diverse needs of the global insurance industry and to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing across multiple jurisdictions,” said Maria Scarfo, managing partner of Blaney McMurtry in Toronto, in a press release. Collectively, ILG has bases in 30 cities across six countries.

The Canadian Bar Association’s Canadian Corporate Counsel Association announces that the respective in-house teams of George Weston Ltd. and the Pro Bono Ontario’s ID Clinic for the Homeless are the co-winners of the 2017 CCCA Community Builder Award.

The Community Builder Award recognizes pro bono, community or corporate social responsibility efforts.

The award was presented during the CCCA 2017 Agents of Change national conference in Toronto on April 3 along with various other CCCA awards.

Craig Carter, a lawyer in Fasken Martineau LLP’s Toronto office, will receive the Ontario Bar Association’s Award for Distingished Service at a ceremony on April 26.

Carter is engaged in a commercial real estate practice and has acted as counsel in real estate issues and the standards of practice in real estate matters. According to the firm, he is extensively involved in continuing legal education for the legal profession, is a co-editor and published author and has chaired many programs for the OBA.

The OBA says its Award for Distinguished Service recognizes exceptional career contributions and/or career achievements by members of the OBA to the legal profession in Ontario, to jurisprudence in Ontario or Canada, to the law or development of the law in Ontario or a significant law-related benefit to the residents of Ontario.

Law Times reported recently that Ontario lawyers say a bill that would give enhanced powers to American border officers working at Canadian airports would likely result in a great deal of uncertainty for their work and their clients. Readers were asked if they supported Bill C-23.

About six per cent of respondents said yes, they did not see an issue with giving American border officers who work on Canadian soil the power to detain Canadians travelling to the United States.

However, 94 per cent said no, they thought changes proposed in the bill would cause problems, especially in addition to the increased climate of uncertainty at the border.
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Allan Ritchie has been appointed Loopstra Nixon LLP’s managing partner and head of the executive committee.

Ritchie assumes the role from Ian Scarlett, who has served in the position since 2009.

During Scarlett’s tenure, the firm underwent significant expansion, growing from 16 lawyers to its current 41-lawyer team.

Scarlett will return to full-time private practice with a continued focus on mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law and will serve as a member of the firm’s governing executive committee.

“Ian has been a steady hand at the wheel during a period of rapid growth and expansion for the firm. The positive impact of his leadership will be felt for years to come,” said founding partner Chuck Loopstra in a press release.

Ritchie originally joined Loopstra Nixon in 2003, where he worked until 2007. He returned as a partner in 2010 and has played significant roles in the restructuring of the firm’s student and lateral hiring programs, as well as serving as the firm’s primary representative with LawExchange International, the global network of 32 law firms of which the firm has been the Canadian representative member since 2012.

In addition to the managing partner role, Ritchie will continue to lead the firm’s cross-border business law practice.

The Catzman family, The Advocates’ Society and the chief justice of Ontario’s Advisory Committee on Professionalism are calling for nominations for an award in memory of the late Justice Marvin A. Catzman, recognizing individuals who have demonstrated a high degree of professionalism and civility in the practice of law.

The award will be presented by the chief justice at the Opening of the Courts in September.

Nominators should provide a brief statement outlining the reasons for their nomination, the nominee’s curriculum vitae and two letters of support.

Nominations should be sent to: Rachel Stewart at The deadline is May 26.

The Advocates’ Society presents its 2017 End Of Term Dinner with special guest keynote speaker Colm Feore, best known for his role in 24. The member-only event will be held June 15 starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building.

Last week, a Law Times columnist wrote that criminal law is out of step and argued there should be an immediate moratorium on HIV non-disclosure prosecutions, unless there is alleged intentional transmission.

We asked readers what they thought. Seventy-two per cent said yes, the unjust criminalization of people living with HIV needs to change. The law has become more draconian even as HIV has become more manageable and as transmission risks decrease.

Twenty-eight per cent said no, the law should remain as it is, and the Ministry of the Attorney General should not change its approach.
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David A. Wright has been reappointed as chairman of the Law Society Tribunal for a four-year term, starting in September.

Wright was first appointed as the independent organization’s first full-time non-bencher tribunal chairman in 2013, as part of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s enhancements to its adjudicative process for discipline, licensing and other regulatory matters.

Under Wright’s leadership, a new scheduling process was established to maximize hearing date options and reduce vacated and continuation dates, said the LSUC in a press release.

A new, dedicated website was also developed to enhance transparency of tribunal proceedings.

To build the tribunal’s distinct identity, Wright and his team developed a set of core values for the organization: fairness, quality, transparency and timeliness, said the LSUC.

“I am extremely happy to be reappointed as tribunal chair and I look forward to continuing to build the Law Society Tribunal as a leader in the administrative justice community,” said Wright in the press release.

Lawyer Selwyn Pieters tweeted on March 20 that he is no longer representing Senator Don Meredith in his hearing before the Senate Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest.

Senators have called for Meredith’s resignation after an ethics report said he used his position of power to lure a teenage girl into a sexual relationship.

 He is also being investigated by the Senate ethics officer over separate allegations of workplace harassment. Pieters would not say whether it was his choice to end the relationship with Meredith, but he told Law Times the decision has his “blessing.”

“Senator Meredith is now being represented by William Trudell in his matter before the Senate Committee on Ethics and Conflict of Interest,” said Pieters in an email to Law Times.

Robert P. Hutchison and Mark J. Sandler have been appointed to the Ontario Securities Commission, where they will each serve a two-year term.

Hutchison spent more than 40 years with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, where he practised business law, focusing on financial services.

Sandler is the senior partner of Cooper Sandler Shime & Bergman LLP and has been an appellate and trial litigator specializing in criminal and regulatory law for 37 years.

Last week, Law Times reported that lawyers are expressing concerns over the timing of the rollout of extensive draft regulations by the provincial government to amend the Condominium Act.  Readers were asked if they feel this will leave little time to bring clients up to speed.

Seventy-five per cent said yes, the government expects the first phase of legislation to be implemented later this year, and this leaves little lead time for lawyers.

Twenty-five per cent said no, the changes leave appropriate time for lawyers to digest all the regulations and help clients understand them.
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Thora Espinet was the only black woman in her class at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law and one of the first black women lawyers in Ontario after being called to the bar in 1984.
But that didn’t stop her from pursuing a career, first in criminal law and then family law.

“Sometimes, what holds people back is self-doubt,” Espinet told Law Times in an interview. “But I’m very confident. I don’t let other people define me.”

That confidence has led Jamaican-born Espinet to become a leader in “promoting social change as well as addressing issues of discrimination and equality,” according to the Law Society of Upper Canada. Espinet is the recipient of the Lincoln Alexander Award.

The award is one of several Law Society Awards that will be handed out May 24 at Osgoode Hall.

Law Society Medal winners include Patrick Case, a leader in establishing policies on addressing racism; Larry Chartrand, who works to advance aboriginal and Métis rights; Sally Colquhoun, who has helped increase social justice for low-income people and First Nation communities in Ontario’s Northwest; Michael Eizenga, a leader in the class action bar; Marie Henein, for her achievements as a criminal defence lawyer; Joanna Radbord, for her contributions to LGBTQ rights, family law, constitutional and human rights; and Gary Yee, for his activism and advocacy for racialized communities.

The Laura Legge Award goes to Breese Davies. Edwarda De Oliveira Castro will receive the William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award, and the J. Shirley Denison Award recipient is Grace Alcaide Janicas.

Law professors from universities across Canada have sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling for an independent ombudsperson to investigate complaints about Canadian mining companies operating abroad.

“It is time for Canada to step up to the plate and take legislative action to prevent Canadian extractive companies from profiting from human rights abuses and other harm,” said Penelope Simons, a professor of law at the University of Ottawa.

Daniel Logan has joined Baker McKenzie as a partner in Toronto. With more than 20 years experience in complex commercial technology and outsourcing transactions, Logan brings a particular expertise working with clients in the financial services sector, said the firm.

Law Times reported that a judge had issued a strong rebuke of the processes lawyers have to follow to retrieve unpaid fees from clients and backlogs at the provincial assessment office.
Readers were asked if they felt an overhaul of the process was long overdue.

About 83 per cent said yes, the time has come for much-needed amendments to the Solicitors Act.

Another 17 per cent said no, while the process was not perfect, it is a good development that lawyers will now be able to sue clients for unpaid accounts in some situations.
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Law Times poll

A recent Court of Appeal decision acknowledged a ‘new reality’ of civil litigation in which courts are seeing a significant number of self-represented litigants. Are courts are doing a good job of addressing the needs of self-represented litigants?
Yes, judges are doing a good job of ensuring trial fairness.
No, courts have only just begun to consider the many issues surrounding self-represented litigants.