In Leblanc v. The Personal Insurance Co. et al., 2022 ONSC 5130, the sole shareholder of a corporate party sought to represent the corporation. This individual is not a lawyer.
Rule 15.01(2) of the Rules of Civil Procedure states that a corporate party must be represented by a lawyer, except with leave of the court.
Regional Senior Justice Ellies indicated that cost is one of the key reasons courts have allowed closely-held corporations to be represented by their shareholders.
In a previous decision, Justice Boswell said:
It is fundamental to integrity of the courts and the reputation of the administration of justice that parties have reasonable access to our courts. If the refusal to grant leave would effectively bar a corporation from access to justice, this factor should be given considerable weight…
Therefore, the ability of the corporation to pay a lawyer is a key consideration in determining whether to grant leave for a non-lawyer to represent the corporation.
In the case in issue, the corporation did not provide any evidence of its ability to afford a lawyer. Due to this, Regional Senior Justice Ellies dismissed the corporation’s motion.