A corporation is a separate legal entity. In law, a corporation is considered to be a person. The corporation can sue and be sued.
A question that commonly arises is: how do I represent my company in Court? This question implies that an owner intends to represent their company. For the purposes of this article, we can assume the company owner is not a lawyer.
Generally speaking, the analysis to be done is:
- Start with the rules of the Court to see if they say whether or not a lawyer is required to represent a corporation.
- Check the Court rules for any exceptions or Court processes that may enable an owner to represent their company without a lawyer.
- Check also with the local regulatory body that governs lawyers in the Province or State to see what they have to say.
- Lastly, check any legislation (Government law) and common law (Judge-made law) for any other permissions or exclusions.
- If a non-lawyer owner can represent a company in Court, or can get a Court order to allow it, then the owner may want to seek out trial and litigation resources and also consult with a lawyer from time to time as necessary.
In Ontario, an owner can represent their company in Small Claims Court. In Superior Court they must have a lawyer pursuant to rule 15 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, unless the Court orders otherwise. A company can bring a motion for the Court’s leave (permission) to be represented by an owner. An explanation of how to bring this motion and the particular rules, as well as precedent motion materials is here.
For owners representing their corporations, our litigation book Civil Litigation D.I.Y. may be of interest, as it discusses how to value, assemble, settle and try cases.
For owners representing their corporations deep in the litigation process nearing trial, HOW TO WINg A TRIAL is a concise read on how to prepare for and conduct trials.
Many corporations will prefer to hire a lawyer when possible, but for smaller companies the cost may be too high and plan B may be to have the owner represent the company, with some consulting advice.
Resources by a trial lawyer, available online:
Trial Book Trial Manual Trial Checklist Trial Forms
If you would like legal advice from an experienced trial lawyer:
Check out our Services Consult Trial Counsel
This website and all resources are trial information, not trial legal advice.
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