Access to Family Justice

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At some point in our high school civics class we learn that we live in a nomocracy, which means a society governed by the rule of law. Living in a society governed by the rule of law means a whole lot more than just having police who arrest shoplifters and drunk drivers. Among other things, it means we have laws that are:

  • written,
  • published,
  • understandable, and
  • apply equally to everyone.

The rule of law also means that we have an accessible justice system that resolves legal disputes — whether between corporations, between an individual and the state, or between people leaving a family relationship — quickly, efficiently, affordably, and fairly. Unfortunately, in many parts of Canada, aspects of "living in a society governed by the rule of law" are more of an ideal than a reality.

This section talks about:

  • common barriers people face when accessing family justice in British Columbia,
  • a short history of the access to family justice crisis in Canada,
  • ways that the courts, government, non-profit organizations, the Law Society, lawyers, mediators, paralegals, law students, and other legal advocates have responded to the problem,
  • future developments and ideas about other steps that might make family justice more accessible, and
  • where you can find legal help for a family law matter.

Barriers to justice

Is access to justice just about access to lawyers and courts? No, and especially not for family law matters. For people going through separation and divorce, one of the first barriers to confront is the misguided perception that court is where they need to go, or where they have to go. Popular media would have us believe that lawyers arguing before a judge is somehow the proper way to settle relationship breakdowns. That's wrong. The fact is, unless family violence is a factor or urgent intervention is needed to protect children, people, or property, most families don't need the court's help to fairly resolve their separation.

What people do need is accurate information about legal rights — their own rights, the other person's rights, and their children's rights — finances, and the risks and benefits of the choices they want to make. This information can empower people to resolve their legal issues on their own, and make appropriate and acceptable compromises as necessary. People then need certainty that the decisions they've made resolving their issues will be respected, followed, and enforced if necessary. Many efficient, sensible, and effective alternatives to court exist that can meet these core needs. And many of them are less costly, less stressful, and less time-consuming than going to court. Court is generally only better for highly contentious family law problems.

JP Boyd on Family Law is filled with chapters designed to reduce the barrier to justice that arises from our perception that court is the only or the best option:

There are other barriers to family justice as well, of course. The law is complex, often hard to find and often hard to understand. The rules that govern the court system, and the forms the rules require, are also complicated. (These are things JP Boyd on Family Law tries to address as well.) If you decide that you'd like to hire a lawyer to help guide you through the law and the rules, lawyers' fees can be very expensive and are sometimes out of reach. Even if you can afford a lawyer, there may not be a lawyer near you who specializes in family law.

Cost barriers

For those who do end up in court, the stakes can be high, the process can feel intimidating, and having a lawyer by your side can feel like a priority. The cost of this can be a significant barrier, however. Based on a 2021 legal fees survey, British Columbians can expect to pay on average more than $6,000 per day for a lawyer's time in trial. Many people simply cannot afford to pay for full legal representation.

You might apply to Legal Aid BC to see if you qualify for free legal representation, but finite public funding for these services is another barrier. Universal legal aid is not a reality in BC. You probably won't qualify for help, unless your annual income is below the poverty line and your legal problem is one of the few problems legal aid will help with. Even if you do qualify, you won't get a legal aid lawyer to help you with all of your case, just some of it, and only for a limited amount of time.

Apart from legal aid lawyers, Legal Aid BC also runs several services to connect people to family law legal advice. Although these services are even more limited in terms of the number of hours of advice one can get, and while most are still for low income individuals, you may qualify for these even if you don't qualify for a legal aid lawyer. These programs include:

  • Family Duty Counsel,
  • Family Advice Lawyers, and
  • FamilyLawLINE

Service confusion barriers

There is a vast array of legal information resources, legal clinics, support organizations, online tools and guides, and lower-cost options for hiring legal professionals. But what are they? Where and when do they operate? Whom do they help? The legal assistance landscape is badly fragmented. The relative obscurity of some of these services, geographical limitations for certain services, confusion about eligibility criteria, the lack of an integrated referral process, and the exhaustion many experience from having to retell one's story again and again to different intake workers, all raise barriers to accessing justice.

Websites like Clicklaw, and services like PovNet's Find an Advocate Tool can help people sort through the confusion, and reveal options like Rise Women’s Legal Centre, and other advocates and clinics who can help in family law matters.

Time barriers

It's not unusual to have to represent oneself in court. The rates of people without lawyers are as high as 80% in some courts. But being in that position means having to learn about the law and court processes. The laws of British Columbia and Canada are published in print and online, and can be found through the provincial government's BC Laws website, from the Canadian Department of Justice, or, even better, through the awesome website provided by the Canadian Legal Information Institute. Courthouse Libraries BC also operates library branches in courthouses throughout the province, and the librarians who work there are skilled at helping members of the public locate legislation and other forms of legal information.

This wide availability of legal information is a good thing, but it takes time to educate yourself. Did you do a poor job filling out a legal form because you couldn't make the time to research how to do it well? Did you get a bad outcome as a result? You may have non-negotiable time commitments like kids, a dependent relative, a critical healthcare appointment, or a job that you cannot afford to lose. It takes time to be an informed self-represented litigant, and people sometimes resign themselves to unfair outcomes because they don't have the time to do anything else. The time needed to self-educate and digest information is one of the biggest barriers to justice.

Complexity barriers

While public legal information can help explain court procedures, case law and legislation, ultimately the primary materials that must be understood are the legal authorities. Unfortunately, statutes and reasons for judgement are not written for the average person; they're written by lawyers (or by judges who used to be lawyers) for lawyers. For many, the complexity of intricate court rules and the dense legal language in statutes and case law leads to confusion and misunderstanding. The complexity of the law undermines people's ability to understand it, and this complexity is another barrier to justice.

Some of the complexity can be minimized by trustworthy plain language resources that are written for the public. Going to the Clicklaw website is a good place to start. That website is a clearing house of reliable public legal education and information about family law in British Columbia. There's also:

If you go to court, you'll want to learn about the British Columbia Supreme Court or the Provincial Court, and their rules as well.

The Provincial Court, has relatively easy-to-understand rules that can be printed into a thick brochure, doesn't charge any filing fees, and has forms that are easy to fill out. The Provincial Court website has a Going to Court webpage with helpful materials for self-represented litigants.

If you need to divide property upon separation or get a divorce, you have to go to the Supreme Court. This court has rules the width of the Kelowna phone book, charges fees for almost every step of the process, and uses more complicated forms. The Supreme Court also has some information for self-represented litigants on its website.

Equity and inclusion barriers

Barriers have a tendency to add up. Statistically speaking, being part of certain marginalized or vulnerable groups can — for a variety of reasons outside that person's direct control — increase the risk that they will experience a family law problem. And once they do, being a member of a marginalized or vulnerable group can mean they face further barriers trying to access to family justice. Disability, language, financial status, mental health capacity, geographical remoteness, gender, class, religion, sexual orientation, immigration status, and Indigenous status are all factors that can increase the prejudice individuals face, increase the complexity of the problems they face, limit their access to comprehensible information, and more. Not all of these barriers are unique to family justice, but they are most certainly present.

Efforts within the justice system to ease these barriers should focus on law reforms, supportive services, cultural competency in the legal profession, and more accessible, inclusive legal information.

The point is that there are a lot of barriers to accessing justice in this province — and everywhere else in Canada, really — which include common perceptions about court being the best place to solve problems and challenges accessing out-of-court-options, the complexity of the governing legislation and the common law, the complexity of the rules of court, the difficulty of navigating the free or low-cost options that do exist, the cumulative impacts of being marginalized, and, of course, the cost of accessing professionals when needed, whether that's a lawyer or a mediator, parenting coordinator, collaborative family law practitioner, or someone else altogether.

If we do live in a society governed by the rule of law, and I believe we do, it seems important to advocate for better access to justice for everyone, including the children of separation and divorce.

An impressive pile of reports...

Beginning in the 1960s and early 70s, lawyers and judges began to be concerned about the justice system, partly because litigation associated with the civil rights struggle revealed gross inequalities in people's ability to access justice as a result of their income, their sexual orientation, their gender, their religious inclinations, their ethnicity and the colour of their skin. People protested, wrote lots of important papers about access to justice, and lobbied government for change. As impotent as protests and lobbying can seem today, things did in fact change.

First, we saw the creation of provincial courts throughout the west. (The Provincial Court of British Columbia was founded in 1969.) Second, law schools across Canada began to develop student legal advice programs, through which law students provided legal services for free while learning more about the law and their future careers, including the Law Students' Legal Advice Program at the University of British Columbia. We also saw human and civil rights legislation being introduced across Canada, including the Canadian Bill of Rights in 1960, the British Columbia Human Rights Code in 1973, and the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1977.

These were all important steps, but none of them was the silver bullet that solved the access to justice problem, and the problem continued. And got worse. In hindsight, it seems as if every 15 to 20 years after that point, concern about access to justice would build and build and then crest with a flurry of academic reports, government commissions and law society task forces. A few initiatives would be launched, some with lasting effect, like Canada's pro bono legal advice programs, and concerns about access to justice would again subside.

The most recent flurry happened in 2013. In that year, we had four very important national reports on the problems affecting Canadians' ability to access justice, and it seemed as though a moment of significant change was at hand. These papers are all very good and are all worth reading:

  1. Professor Julie Macfarlane's landmark study on the experiences of litigants without lawyers, "The National Self-Represented Litigants Project: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Self-Represented Litigants",
  2. the report of the Canadian Bar Association's Access to Justice Committee, "Equal Justice: Balancing the Scales",
  3. the final report of the Family Justice Working Group of the Canada-wide Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, "Meaningful Change for Family Justice: Beyond Wise Words," which provided a particularly powerful call to action, and is really worthwhile reading, and
  4. the final summary report of the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, "Access to Civil and Family Justice: A Roadmap for Change."

The report of the national committee's Family Justice Working Group was especially important. The authors observed that:

"Canadians do not have adequate access to family justice. For many years now reports have been telling us that cost, delay, complexity and other barriers are making it impossible for many Canadians to exercise their legal rights. More recently, a growing body of research has begun to quantify the extent of unmet legal need in our communities and to describe the disquieting individual and social consequences of failing to respond adequately to family legal problems."

But, commenting on that "growing body of research," they further observed that the pile of reports which had already been generated on the access to justice problem were remarkably consistent in both their diagnosis of the problem and their recommendations for its cure:

"The [working group] is very mindful of the many family justice reform reports that precede this one. These reports are remarkably consistent in their diagnosis of the problems and their prescriptions for change. A key theme of all reports is the place of adversarial (rights-based) and non-adversarial (interest-based) dispute resolution processes in the family justice system and the still untapped potential for non-adversarial values and consensual dispute resolution processes to enhance access to the family justice system.

"Steps have been taken to respond to these reports across Canada and the Commonwealth and, in many respects, the practice of family law looks very different today than it did 25 years ago. Changes to court rules and forms have made courts more accessible and judges have become increasingly involved in case management and settlement facilitation. Legal information programs, subsidized mediation and post-separation parenting programs are widespread. The legal profession has adopted non-adversarial approaches to family law disputes and processes like mediation and collaborative law are now widely used across Canada.

"Despite these changes, reports and inquiries continue to call for further reform, saying that the changes to date, while welcome, are simply not enough. The reports continue to advocate for a more dramatic shift to non-adversarial approaches, calling for 'drastic change', a 'fundamental overhaul' and a 'paradigm shift'."

Now, more than sixty years after the access to justice revolution first began, the problem continues and persists. In fact, it is arguably worsening. The number of people without lawyers continues to climb in all areas of the court system, but especially in our provincial courts and especially in family law cases. The availability of out-of-court options for resolving family matters has increased, which is a positive development for families. However, court processes continue to be affected by under-resourcing and delays, which increases stress on families.

...and some partial progress

This is not, of course, to say that nothing is being done. After that flurry of reports in 2013, groups were established in many provinces to pursue the access to justice problem and potential solutions to the problem. Some of these efforts have floundered, while others have produced notable successes. We are lucky to live in British Columbia, which seems to be leading the country in experimenting with new programs and different initiatives. The changes that have been made in just the last ten or fifteen years in British Columbia are impressive and inspiring.

Progress by the courts

Here are a few of the steps the courts have taken:

  • The Supreme Court deserves credit for implementing specific family rules and forms in 2010. While they remain more complex than those in Provincial Court, the Supreme Court's forms are now closer to a "fill in the blanks" approach. The Supreme Court also expanded its use of conferences (there are several versions of these, but they are all generally more informal opportunities for the parties to meet with a judge who can often work out a settlement to some of the issues in dispute, and in some cases full settlement). Anyone can schedule a judicial case conference at any time, and in 2023 the court introduced a new case planning conference to give parties greater access to a judge who can help streamline and simplify their litigation.
  • For its part, the Provincial Court has been extraordinarily active, experimenting with an ongoing and vast redesign of its approach to handling family law cases. The early resolution process at some registries has involved a major redesign of the court experience. And new Provincial Court Family Rules and forms were launched in 2021. The new rules are focused on the experience of participants, not just the needs of the court, and aim to change how court appearances work to ensure that each court appearance has a more meaningful outcome. The court has embraced the recommendations of the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters. For those whose goal is to keep a family law resource like this wikibook up-to-date, it's been hard to keep up with the Provincial Court!
  • Both courts deserve credit for their efforts towards ensuring transparency by explaining the specific legal wording common in family law orders that they issue, including the Provincial Court's Family Law Orders Picklist and the Supreme Court's Family Law Orders Picklist.
  • The courts and the judges that lead them are also working more in conjunction with other policy leaders to make high-level plans for change. An initiative called the Transform the Family Justice System Collaborative, led by Access to Justice BC (itself a collaboration among leaders from basically all the province's justice-related organizations), was launched in 2022 with the aim of transforming the family justice system in BC by focusing it on achieving family well-being. This represents a shift to focus on better outcomes for children of separated parents.
  • The pandemic all but forced the courts to embrace video conferencing and other remote methods for attendance. For many people, this is clearly an improvement for access to justice. Changes to both courts' rules and forms have also acknowledged that exchanging court materials by email is routine, and should be the default.

Progress by the government

Here are some of the steps the government in BC has taken:

  • The introduction of Family Justice Centres has been very important. These centres are staffed by Family Justice Counsellors specially trained to help families with parenting arrangements, contact with children, guardianship, and support issues. They can help parents resolve disagreements without going to court and provide short-term counselling, mediation, emergency and community referrals, along with other free services. There are 24 of these centres across the province, and virtual appointment options are available.
  • In 2024, the Government of British Columbia announced a $29 million expansion in legal aid for individuals experiencing family violence. A multidisciplinary, trauma-informed family law clinic model will assist people fleeing family violence. Eligibility criteria will be broader, effective 1 April 2024. This change was planned with Legal Aid BC and the Centre for Family Equity to resolve constitutional challenges to secure more responsive legal supports for single mothers experiencing family violence.
  • The new Indigenous Justice Centres (IJCs) are the product of collaboration between the provincial government and the BC First Nations Justice Council. The plan is for 15 IJCs by the end of 2024, plus a Virtual Indigenous Justice Centre. This commitment to providing Indigenous families with accessible, culturally attuned legal assistance, supports the broader goal of fostering family well-being within Indigenous communities.
  • Another noteworthy new service is the Online FLA Assistant, which helps anyone apply for a Family Law Act order in Provincial Court. This is more than an information website. The Online FLA Assistant will ask questions and take information from self-represented litigants to assemble completed forms that can then be filed in the Provincial Court.
  • Similar to the Online FLA Assistant, but for uncontested divorce applications, the Ministry of Attorney General's Online Divorce Assistant lets people jointly apply for a divorce. It's free, takes in information through an online questionnaire, and then prepares forms that can be filed jointly by people seeking a divorce.
  • Ongoing reforms to the Family Law Act in recent years encourage arbitration, clarify areas of the law that were confusing, like the division of property, and introduced new laws for dealing with pet ownership after separation.
  • Before the pandemic, the provincial government had been planning changes to how the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program was managed. (FMEP is a free program has helped enforce child and spousal support orders since 1988.) A new agency was formed, called the BC Family Maintenance Agency, but the pandemic resulted in delays. In late September 2023, government announced that they are going ahead with the changes. It's clear a primary goal is to make the system easier to use online through apps and modern websites, with less paperwork, printing, and faxing.

Progress by the legal profession and its regulator

The Law Society of BC's Innovation Sandbox initiative aims to improve access to justice by improving access to legal advice and assistance from less conventional sources. The Law Society describes their "sandbox" as a "safe space" for people and organizations that are not otherwise authorized to offer legal services to experiment with new ways to do so that could benefit the public. It's a response to the fact that 85% of people in British Columbia who have a serious legal problem get no help from a lawyer, and often go to someone other than a lawyer for assistance. Basically, the regulator is allowing groups to experiment, so long as they make a proposal to the Law Society, without fear of the regulator coming down on them. For a regulatory system that's premised on protecting the public by ensuring lawyers maintain a monopoly over the practice of law, this is a significant step.

We have also seen family law lawyers and other family law professionals take on the access to justice issue by participating in a range of different initiatives:

  • the Pro Bono Collaborative Family Law Project offers free collaborative lawyers for each party, plus other collaborative professionals as needed, and is for people who could not afford a collaborative team ordinarily,
  • Access Pro Bono, an important organization where lawyers and legal professionals donate their time and advocacy, has assumed responsibility for or pioneered a number of innovative services, including
    • a free online family mediation service for people of modest means, called the Virtual Family Mediation Project,
    • the Lawyer Referral Service, which connects lawyers and clients with a free 15-minute consultation, and
    • the Everyone Legal Clinic, which is relatively new and offers affordable legal services, including transparent pricing for family law agreements, uncontested divorce applications, and dispute resolution assistance.
  • Mediate BC offers online pro bono mediation clinics] where people can ask a Registered Roster Mediator questions about family law mediation, discuss specific circumstances with them, for free, and
  • different groups of lawyers and mental health professionals deserve credit for their work in promoting a family law system that is kinder on children including,
    • The BC Hear the Child Society, which aims to give children the opportunity to share their views with the courts when their best interests are decided in the family justice system. It hosts a roster of lawyers who can prepare hear the child reports.
    • The BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society, which hosts a roster of qualified parenting coordinators, and promotes parenting coordination as a mechanism for dealing with issues in high-conflict relationships between parents.

Many more lawyers are now also willing to try to resolve cases using mediation, collaborative negotiation, and arbitration than ever before.

Unbundling is something else lawyers are exploring, and a number of family law lawyers are offering Unbundled legal services, or limited scope retainers, as a part of their ordinary practice.

To work on an "unbundled" or "limited scope" basis means that, instead of the usual sort of retainer where a lawyer expects to handle all aspects of a file from start to finish, the lawyer will work with their client to identify the specific services they will offer while the client does the rest. The sort of legal services that are best suited to a limited scope approach include:

  1. drafting affidavits and applications,
  2. preparing legal opinions,
  3. completing court forms, including financial statements,
  4. evaluating or drafting settlement proposals, and
  5. coaching the client through the litigation process.

A directory of lawyers offering unbundled legal services is available online at

Progress by libraries

Courthouse Libraries BC has produced this wikibook since 2013 when JP Boyd on Family Law first appeared, not just online, but in a full-size book, printed and distributed to public libraries and courthouse libraries and across the province. CLBC operates many access to justice services:

  • each of its 30 branches, in courthouses throughout the province, are open to the public whenever they are staffed and provide access to:
    • law librarians who can answer questions about legal reference and finding legal information in person, by email, or by telephone,
    • a vast collection of printed legal information, including law books, journals, practice manuals, historical and contemporary print volumes of legislation and regulation, and legislative debates,
    • special databases, accessible within the branches, used for legal research, and
    • a website with many custom and helpful tools specific to British Columbia law, including guides and the Our Legal Knowledge Base,
  • the Clicklaw website, which is referenced throughout this wikibook and provides an authoritative listing of vetted sources for legal information by topic, and
  • LawMatters, a program that supports people's access to legal information in public libraries throughout hundreds of communities in the province by training public librarians on how to make better legal referrals and handle legal reference questions, providing grants to support public libraries' collections of legal information, and finding ways to turn public libraries into places people can come to for more support with their legal questions — when you hold a print copy of JP Boyd on Family Law in your hand, it's because the LawMatters program funded its printing!

CLBC is a very old organization, and its work supporting self-represented litigants and members of the public seeking legal information has grown significantly over the years. CLBC's librarians routinely help members of the public find and get copies of information from law books and databases that are designed and written primarily for lawyers. These include important books published by the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia that nearly every family lawyer in the province relies upon to practice family law:

  • British Columbia Family Practice Manual,
  • Family Law Agreements: Annotated Precedents,
  • Family Law Deskbook, and
  • Family Law Sourcebook for British Columbia

CLBC can also help people find relevant course materials from CLEBC on specific topics within family law, as well as precedents and how to tips on court procedure from other legal publishers.

Progress by other groups

Law students, paralegals, and others also deserve major credit for their efforts to improve access to family justice in British Columbia.

Amicus Curiae is a volunteer-driven program that offers workshops on filling forms and completing paperwork for court. It involves paralegals, new lawyers, law students, law librarians and accountants, all supervised by lawyers.

The Law Students Legal Advice Program at UBC's law school has been providing assistance through supervised law student clinicians for decades, while the Law Centre clinic at the University of Victoria, and the Community Legal Clinic at Thompson Rivers University do the same. The degree of family law assistance may be limited, but some assistance is offered.

There are many other organizations and services I haven't mentioned, of course. Go to the Clicklaw website to explore other options for help with family law.

What else needs to be done?

The practice of family law in British Columbia is, from a lawyer's point of view, very different today than it was just twenty years ago. As a young lawyer just starting out, I remember treating every new case that came in the door as if it was going to be resolved at trial. That was just the assumption we made then. We didn't think about mediation or arbitration, and collaborative negotiation had yet to be introduced in the province. Parenting coordination hadn't been established, and unbundled legal services were just starting to be discussed.

Very few lawyers make the same assumption today. Most of us assess new cases for certain factors that might make litigation inevitable — including the presence of family violence, the need for orders protecting people or orders protecting property, and applications to move away with children — and our first inclination is often to pick up the phone and call the lawyer on the other side to talk about what's going on rather than filing a claim in court. We have more tools to settle cases these days than ever before, and the fact that less than 5% of family law court cases are resolved by trial seems to reflect the growth of these options.

The bigger problems — the cost of legal services, the complexity of the legislation and case law, the difficult and adversarial nature of court processes, the chronic delays affecting the court system, and our failure to properly fund alternatives to court — have barely been touched, and I'm not sure that any government is really prepared to tackle these problems head-on.

British Columbians deserve a system that is focused on the short- and long-term wellbeing of children, that is built to minimize the impact of parental conflict on children, that provides the social and economic supports families in crisis need, that includes social and psychological services as well as legal services, and that is fundamentally designed to promote the future functioning of families living apart. We deserve a system in which court is the last resort and collaborative negotiation is the first, and a system in which people don't necessarily have to hire a lawyer to move forward with their lives.

If the justice system is going to change, it's going to change because a lot of people realize that business-as-usual hasn't worked for the last sixty years and that the status quo is not only unacceptable, it's harmful.

If this wikibook is being used to help you through a family law matter, and if you learn things through your process that should be heard by law and policy makers, please consider writing to your MP and your MLA, the federal Minister of Justice, and the provincial Attorney General. Write letters to your local media, and press for continuing coverage of justice system issues rather than the usual one-and-done article published when something scandalous happens. Get on your local Provincial Court family law committee. Run for election. Become a lawyer, a paralegal, or a mediator. Start community groups and Facebook groups. Volunteer with local advocacy centres, and if there isn't one, create one.

Change can happen, but it's not going to happen until enough people begin to put pressure on the system and demand change. What we've got is simply not good enough. Help make a difference!

Resources and links

In JP Boyd on Family Law, we emphasize the importance of accessible legal information and resources to support self-represented litigants and those seeking a deeper understanding of family law. This section reflects our commitment to providing comprehensive and reliable resources. We categorize these resources to help you easily navigate through them, prioritizing those that offer direct support or valuable information to self-represented litigants.

Legal representation, advice, or support

Educational and informational resources

Court information and forms support

Primary legislation and caselaw sources

Libraries and publishers

  • Courthouse Libraries BC (CLBC) - Offers access to a wide range of legal information resources, including specialized databases and knowledgeable law librarians.
  • CLBC Subscription Databases - Specialized legal research databases accessible within CLBC branches.
  • CLBC's Legal Knowledge Base.
  • The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia (CLEBC) - Publisher of essential legal resources for family law practitioners in BC (available through CLBC):
    • British Columbia Family Practice Manual - A comprehensive resource for family law issues in BC.
    • Family Law Agreements: Annotated Precedents - Provides precedents for various family law agreements.
    • Family Law Deskbook - A quick-reference tool for family law practitioners.
    • Family Law Sourcebook for British Columbia - An essential guide to family law legislation and case law.
  • CanLII Commentaries - Free access to secondary law materials, from law reviews and treatises to reports and articles, from the same website that aggregates Canadian legislation and caselaw.

Progressive initiatives led by legal professionals

  • Mediate BC - Offers online pro bono mediation workshops to discuss specific circumstances with Registered Roster Mediators (RRMs) specializing in family law mediation.
  • BC Hear the Child Society - Provides children a voice in the family justice system and hosts a roster of lawyers who prepare hear the child reports.
  • BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society - Features a roster of qualified parenting coordinators for handling high-conflict parental relationships and promoting children's well-being.

Collaborative initiatives and reports

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by JP Boyd, 28 November 2023.

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