Generally, civil litigation is the branch of law that deals with disputes between private parties. When one party believes they have been wronged by the non-criminal actions of another, they can pursue their desired remedy through civil litigation. Examples of disputes addressed through civil litigation include contract breaches and personal injury cases resulting from negligence.

Unlike criminal law where the state prosecutes a party, civil litigation is typically initiated through a lawsuit filed with the courts or proceedings before tribunals. Civil litigation can provide for many remedies including monetary compensation and injunctions (a court order preventing a party from doing something). Unless the matter has a criminal law component, imprisonment is not an outcome of civil litigation.

Litigation can be expensive

Where parties cannot settle their dispute, civil cases can last years. Often, these cases are complicated and must be processed through a court system that has many mandatory stages. Each of these steps will usually require the assistance of a lawyer who must invest a lot of time to move your case forward. Naturally, legal expenses can quickly rise, especially in complicated cases. Weigh the wrong you are trying to address against the time, expense and emotional investment you must make to fight for your desired outcome.

There are limits to what lawyers can do

Civil litigation can be unpredictable. Lawyers cannot defeat overwhelming facts or adverse laws. They do the best they can under the circumstances. The fact that a client has paid legal fees should never be considered as a guarantee of the client’s desired outcome.

Do you really need a lawyer?: free and low-cost resources

Sometimes you do not need a lawyer. The following examples refer to Saskatchewan though most Canadian provinces will have equivalent organizations. The information below is of a general nature. For further details, visit the websites or contact the organizations directly.

Small claims

The Small Claim Court in Saskatchewan deals with disputes for claims under $30,000. Matters before the Court often do not require legal representation. The rules of procedure are simpler. The process is both cheaper and faster. The judges are more accommodating to self-represented parties. For further details on the Small Claims Court, visit its website.

Saskatchewan human rights commission

Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission: If you believe you have a human rights complaint, you can consult the Commission. They will attempt to resolve the matter with you and if necessary, their lawyers will represent you in Court.

Ombudsman Saskatchewan

Ombudsman Saskatchewan: The Ombudsman’s office has the mandate of addressing complaints about unfairness in government services. This includes government decision, failure to act or delays in providing services.

Legal aid Saskatchewan

Legal Aid Saskatchewan: “Legal Aid Saskatchewan provides lawyer services to individuals who may not be able to afford a lawyer from their own resources. Those applying for legal aid must meet requirements in order to receive our services. To determine if you qualify, please choose the option that best describes your problem or situation.”

Financial and consumer affairs authority of Saskatchewan consumer protection division

Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan Consumer Protection Division: “The Consumer Protection Division issues, approves and administers licenses in specific sectors, investigates consumer complaints, answers consumer inquiries, provides advice and direction to the public on how to resolve their complaint, educates consumers and businesses on their rights and responsibilities, and conducts compliance audits of licensees.”

Self- Representation

Sometimes, you cannot find or afford a lawyer to represent you. Other times, you may wish to represent yourself. Whatever your reason, in Canada’s legal system, people are allowed to represent themselves in legal proceedings. If you chose to do so, you may wish to consult the following resources from the Law Society of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice (Family Law), and the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal’s website.

Self-Representation: See the Resources and Links section of this website. Also, Legal Aid Saskatchewan’s website lists other useful resources for self-represented clients. 


The information on this website is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or a contract for legal services with Runyowa Law Professional Corporation. If you need formal legal advice in a covered practice area, please contact Runyowa Law Professional Corporation at 1-306-206-2800