The CJTD Friend Scheme is a scheme created pursuant to Practice Directions Amendment No. 4 of 2019 to allow unrepresented litigants-in-person to apply to be assisted in proceedings before a tribunal by a family member, friend, or a volunteer from the Community Justice Centre (CJC) or a pro bono agency / entity.
This application is subject to the approval of the tribunal or the registrar of the relevant CJTD tribunal, and must be filed manually by printing out and filling in Form 99.
What can a CJTD Friend assist me with?
A CJTD Friend, when approved by a tribunal or registrar, may help you to do the following:
Prepare and file documents relevant to the proceedings;
Provide emotional and moral support, and offer practical guidance on non-legal issues;
- Take notes during the proceedings or help to organise and locate documents for use during the proceedings;
Review the notes taken during the proceedings with you after the proceedings; and/or
Interpret spoken communications and/or written documents during the proceedings.
Will the State Courts help me to find a CJTD Friend to assist me?
No, you must find a family member, friend, or a volunteer from a pro bono agency or entity who is able and willing to assist you as a CJTD Friend in the tribunal proceedings on your own.
Are there any restrictions on who can be a CJTD Friend?
A CJTD Friend cannot be someone who:
Is or may be a witness in the proceedings;
Has a direct or indirect interest in the outcome of a claim in the dispute;
Is an advocate or solicitor or a legally qualified person from any jurisdiction; or
Is a housing agent of the applicant and the dispute involves a tenancy or any other housing matter in which the housing agent is acting for the applicant.
How many CJTD Friends can I have?
A person may only be assisted by one CJTD Friend at all times during the proceedings. If you wish to have a different person appointed as your CJTD Friend, you will need to make a new application to the tribunal or registrar.
Can the other party object to my application for a CJTD Friend?
An opposing party may object to the presence of or assistance to be given by a CJTD Friend, but the opposing party must provide valid and sufficient reasons why you should not be allowed to receive assistance from a CJTD Friend. The tribunal or registrar will consider such reasons before deciding whether to allow your application.
What is a CJTD Friend not able to help me with?
In providing assistance and support, a CJTD Friend cannot:
Provide you with any legal advice on the merits of the case and/or legal representation;
Advise you on how to present your case or how to respond to the opponent's case;
Manage your case outside court or act as your agent when dealing with other parties;
Act as your lawyer (including, but not limited to, addressing the tribunal or registrar, making oral submissions, conducting litigation, examining witnesses, signing tribunal documents on your behalf, acting as your agent, or managing your case outside the proceedings);
Communicate with you during the proceedings in a manner that would disrupt the proceedings;
Divulge any information communicated to him or her in the course of assisting you in proceedings to any third party; or
Receive any payment or reward for his or her services.
What happens if a CJTD Friend breaks any of the rules of conduct or disrupts the proceedings?
At any time during the proceedings, the tribunal or the registrar may regulate the manner in which the a CJTD Friend provides assistance to you, and may stop or restrict the participation of the CJTD Friend, if the tribunal or the registrar considers that the administration of justice is being impeded by the CJTD Friend. This may include the following:
Where the assistance provided by the CJTD Friend is improper;
Where the assistance provided by the CJTD Friend is unreasonable in nature or degree;
Where it is apparent to the tribunal or the registrar or the opposing party that the CJTD Friend is not well versed or competent enough to interpret spoken communications or written documents in the proceedings;
Where the CJTD Friend becomes disruptive through his words or behaviour;
Where the CJTD Friend distracts you, takes over the proceedings on your behalf, or seeks or attempts to act as a lawyer for you by speaking directly to the tribunal or registrar or the opposing party;
Where it would not be in the interests of justice and fairness to allow the CJTD Friend to remain or where it would obstruct the efficient administration of justice; or
Where the CJTD Friend breaches one of the prohibitions set out in Practice Directions Amendment No. 4 of 2019.