Great Books

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** Please be advised that the resources listed on this website are not everything you will need. You may well need to consult additional resources, depending on your case. Furthermore, this website is intended as general legal information only.  The information may or may not apply to your case. Your usage of this information does not mean that I am your lawyer. For advice specific to your situation, please consult with a lawyer.**


The following is a list of a few titles which I found particularly helpful as a self-represented litigant. Most of these are available either in the Toronto Public Library or the university Law Library (UT, York).

(A) The Basics

The following books are great for the layman. They are easy to read, and extremely helpful in getting you to get a basic understanding of litigation.

1. Denice Barrie. Journey to Justice. A Practical Guide to Effectively Representing Yourself in Court.

2. Devlin Farmer. Representing Yourself In Court (CAN): How to Win Your Case on Your Own.


(B) General Civil Litigation

1. David Stockwood. Civil Litigation. 5th edition.

     This is an excellent book that gives you an overall view to litigation.

2. Laurence  M. Olivo, Mary Ann Kelly.  Civil Litigation. Emond Montgomery Publications.

    Excellent book that discusses the various steps, plus examples of what completed court forms actually look like.

3. James C. Morton et al. Procedural Strategies for Litigators 2nd Edition. Lexis Nexis.

    In case you wonder how you might want to handle opposing party’s tactics, this book offers some tips and litigation strategy.

4. Ira Nishisato,  Ontario Litigator’s Pocket Reference.

    This is a  handy reference guide for litigators.

5. Donald Ferguson, Ontario Court Room Procedures.

    This is a very detailed and comprehensive book on court procedure. If you have an upcoming hearing, perhaps a look through this book would help calm your fears. (Better yet, attend a few motions or trials.  They’re usually open to the public.)

6. Rosie H. McConnell. A Guide to Collections Procedures in Ontario.

     This includes examples of legal documents, such as notice of motions, bill of costs, facta, etc. This book is available at the Toronto Reference Library.

 (B) Family Law
  1. Michael G. Cochrane. Surviving Your Divorce. A Guide to Canadian Family Law.  John Wiley & Sons. 2012.

    This is an excellent book for all family law litigants, whether they are self-represented or not.   This book is written in language that is easy to understand and respectful to laymen.  I especially like the chapter devoted to self-representation, which  includes a number of tips on how to prepare for hearings.  This is an absolute must-read!

2. JoAnn Kurtz. Family Law Practice and Procedure. Vols.1 &2. Emond Montgomery Publications. 2010

     This is a wonderfully practical guide that includes a basic introduction to family law, and contains many examples of completed forms.  


(C) Optional Reading

1. Alternative Dispute Resolution

Roger Fisher and William Ury, Getting to Yes. How to Negotiate agreement without giving in.  Penguin Books, 2011.

     It is always better to resolve a dispute outside of court.  Sometimes, we are so fixated in the adversarial system that we forget that there are alternatives. This book teaches you how to think outside of the box. 
2. Legal Reasoning

Frederick Schauer. Thinking Like a Lawyer. A New Introduction to Legal Reasoning. Harvard University Press. 2009.

In case you ever wondered about the mysteries of  “legal reasoning”, this is a good book to read.  It’s written for laymen.  It explains the basic concepts, such as the use of precedents and the concept of binding authority. It introduces you to statutory interpretation. Lots of good stuff here!