Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family

Publications

The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family has authored numerous books, monographs and research reports since its establishment in 1987, many of which are publicly available from the Institute, the funders of specific projects and online. Please contact the Institute for information about the availability of listed publications without hyperlinks. Please visit the Current Projects page to read about our work in progress and projects under development.

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Hot Off the Press

Dividing Property and Allocating Debt Under British Columbia's Family Law Act: The Case Law to Date

Author Boyd, J.-P.E.
Date May 2016
Précis This paper summarizes the scheme for the division of property set out in British Columbia's new Family Law Act, and discusses issues such as standing, jurisdiction and time limits along with the mechanics of dividing property. The paper reviews the key findings in the emerging case law on matters including the tracing of excluded property, the application of common law principles to the division of property under the legislation and the unequal division of family property, and concludes with a discussion of recent Court of Appeal decisions on the division of property.
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An Evaluation of the Clicklaw Wikibook JP Boyd on Family Law: Final Report

Authors Bertrand, L.D.
Paetsch, J.J.
Date May 2016
Précis This study assesses the outputs and outcomes of the wikibook JP Boyd on Family Law, by analyzing usage data from Google Analytics and the data collected from a pop-up survey of wikibook users, a follow-up survey administered one week later and a follow-up survey administered six months later, to gauge the efficacy of the wikibook as a collaborative public legal education model. The findings show that the wikibook is being accessed by both legal professionals and members of the public and that users believe the wikibook to be a reliable source of legal information, more helpful than other resources, easy to navigate, easy to understand and very informative. The findings also show that the wikibook has significant long-term effects, with respondents to the six-month survey stating that they know more about the law now than before accessing the wikibook, the information in the wikibook has improved their understanding of family law issues and the law in general, and the wikibook has improved their understanding of the ways that family law issues are resolved.
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Comparing the Views of Judges and Lawyers Practicing in Alberta and in the Rest of Canada on Selected Issues in Family Law: Parenting, Self-represented Litigants and Mediation

Authors Boyd, J.-P.E.
Bertrand, L.D.
Date April 2016
Précis This report examines the results of our survey of attendees of the National Family Law Program 2014, and compares the views of Alberta respondents with those from the rest of Canada on a number of issues, including parenting after separation, self-represented litigants and their access to justice, and mediation. The report notes some striking differences between the views and experiences of Alberta practitioners and those from elsewhere in Canada. Alberta practitioners are more likely to: have cases resulting in shared custody or shared parenting; support the amendment of the Divorce Act to use terms such as parenting responsibilities and parenting time; have cases involving self-represented litigants; support mandatory information programs for self-represented litigants; and, support the use of paralegals to improve access to justice for self-represented litigants.
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A Miscellany of Recent, Frequently Cited Appellate Child Support Decisions

Author Boyd, J.-P.E.
Date February 2016
Précis This paper digests ten of the most frequently cited decisions on child support released by Canada's courts of appeal over the last three years. These cases provide important guidance on some of the more difficult issues relating to the determination of child support, including retroactive support orders, imputing income, children's special expenses and support paid in respect of adult children.
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Access to Legal Services in Women's Shelters

Authors Wright, A.C.
Bertrand, L.D.
Date December 2015
Précis This study examines access to legal services among clients of women's domestic violence shelters. The study samples the views of staff and clients at three domestic violence shelters with the goals of improving understanding of clients' legal service needs, understanding the challenges clients attempting to access legal services encounter and making recommendations for improvement. The authors conclude that clients' service needs are complex and often involve legal problems, yet shelters face specific organizational barriers to coordinating legal services. The authors recommend that a further Alberta-wide study be undertaken to examine the legal access patterns of women experiencing domestic violence, to assess the prevalence of the barriers identified in the study and to determine whether further barriers are present in other shelters.
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Featured Publications

Pathways and Transitions of Persistent Youth Offenders in Alberta: Final Report

Authors MacRae-Krisa L.
Bertrand, L.D.
Paetsch, J.J.
Rinquist, L.
Date March 2014
Précis This report summarizes the findings of a four-year study of pathways and transitions of persistent youth offenders in Alberta. The overall objectives of the study were to understand the factors that differentiate persistent youth offenders who offend into adulthood from persistent youth offenders who desist, understand these factors in a developmental context, and provide focussed information to develop and improve multi-sectoral prevention and intervention initiatives.
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Self-represented Litigants in Family Law Disputes: Contrasting the Views of Alberta Family Law Lawyers and Judges of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench

Authors Boyd, J.-P.E.
Bertrand, L.D.
Download on iBooks
Date July 2014
Précis This report presents a comparison and analysis of the results obtained from two studies on respondents' experiences with self-represented litigants and means of improving access to justice in family law matters, the Institute's 2012 survey of family law lawyers and our 2014 survey of judges. Important differences between the views of judges and lawyers were observed in respect of the reasons why litigants represent themselves, the likelihood of settlement in cases involving at least one self-represented litigant and the potential role of paralegals in family law disputes.
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