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Golden Rules when representing yourself. Part 9

Part 9 on…


Remember, success in litigation depends on three things: the facts, the law and the presentation; that is:

  1. how strong and reliable your evidence is to establish the facts;
  2. whether the law can be used in your favour;
  3. how clearly and coherently you present your case.

So with that in mind, here’s number 9…



It’s so easy to do.

Reacting to letters from your ex or her lawyers. Proving your point to them directly in lots of email exchanges. Arguing about an objection over something not directly related to what you’re trying to achieve.

So how do you keep yourself on the straight and narrow?

It starts with your case theory. Your story as to why your orders are the right ones for your children and even for your ex and you. You must develop it early as a framework to hang all of your evidence on. If it’s weak or you don’t have one, then to quote Yoda, “Lose your way, you will.”

Your ex has a case theory for why her having sole parental responsibility is in the best interest of your children. Why do you think you were/are accused of domestic violence? Why do you think the law was changed to make anything you do or say domestic violence? It’s the basis of her case theory.

As a case theory, it bypasses the law for shared parenting and effectively blocks you from any defence over property and your children’s access to you.

Here’s an example of a case theory from a book written by an American Judge1 who got tired of the screw-ups of LAWYERS appearing before him. It’s very simple. It’s about a lady and her hair dryer. A truly shocking experience, but is the hair dryer company liable? You’re the lawyer representing her. Here goes:

She was styling her hair in front of the bathroom mirror with a hair dryer when she accidentally dropped the dryer into the sink below the mirror. Unfortunately, the sink was full of water, and she was injured severely by the resulting electric shock.

You contend that the dryer was unreasonably dangerous and defective — that it is the company’s fault that your client got hurt.

The theme:

  • Electrical appliances can be dangerous if used near water.
  • Hair dryers are generally used in the bathroom.
  • Bathrooms have sinks and tubs that hold water.
  • People in a hurry are inclined to cut corners and make mistakes.
  • Hair dryers are often used by people in a hurry. We all know this, and so do the companies that make electrical appliances.
  • Appliances should be designed so that a simple mistake by the consumer will not result in electrocution — either fatal or non-fatal.

So you see the story in these statements? You’re asking a jury or the judge for orders to force the company to fix this for you, ie give you money.

This is the type of thing you have to work out for your application to the judge. What are you asking for? Sole parental responsibility? Full shared parental responsibility, equal parenting time as the law says it must happen?

So then what is your theme? What story are you going to show the judge to persuade him/her that your application and orders are right?

When you have that theme worked out, it becomes a framework to hang all of your facts and evidence on.

And when you inevitably get sidetracked, you have it there as a roadmap to get you back on your way again. It keeps you focused on what’s truly important in your case.


Fine, Ralph Adam (2008-07-01). The How To Win Trial Manual 4th Edition Juris Publishing, Inc.

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