This article compares the law of custody and access disputes with the procedure used to resolve them. I argue that there is a fundamental contradiction between these two things. The former focuses on the interests of the children involved to the exclusion of all else. The latter, however, is controlled by and designed to protect the rights and interests of the adult parties to the dispute. Despite their doctrinal centrality in custody and access law, children are usually silent and invisible in custody and access procedure. To resolve this contradiction, I propose a focus on the costs and benefits of parenting litigation for the children involved. Too much parenting litigation occurs which has more costs than benefits for them. We should curtail some of these cases, and apply the proportionality principle to others. Finally, these children should have a stronger voice when decisions are being made about their future.
Canadian Family Law Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 1, page 1. (March, 2010)
There are two possible forms of evidence in a custody or access (visitation) case which is determined through adjudication. First, the judge may hear from the adult parties and the witnesses whom they choose to call. Second, the judge may hear “children’s evidence,” which comes either directly from the child, or from a neutral professional with child-related expertise. To assess the prevalence of children’s evidence in Canadian custody and access litigation, the author conducted a quantitative survey of 181 reported decisions from 2009. The central finding was that only 45% mentioned any form of children’s evidence. Among the various varieties of children’s evidence, assessments (also known as child custody evaluations) were much more common than legal representation of children or direct evidence from children. The paper concludes by contrasting the primacy of the child in custody and access doctrine with the reality that the children involved appear to be effectively silent in the majority of the adjudicated cases.
Canadian Journal of Family Law, Vol. 24, Issue 2, page 317.
When an intimate relationship breaks down and one of the people involved seeks money from the other, should it make any difference to the law whether or not they were formally married? This article argues that it should make a difference, at least when spousal support is being sought and the parties were never parents together.
(Winner of the 2008 Falconer Memorial Student Essay Competition in Family Law.)
with Freya Kristjanson, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.
Prepared for the Ontario Legal Clinics Conference, this is a summary of the procedure and substance of Federal Court judicial review of administrative decisions. This paper was written with a legal clinic audience in mind, and pays particular attention to the federally-reviewed tribunals which clinic workers are most likely to deal with.
Canadian Journal of Law and Technology. Volume 6, Issue 3, p. 163.
The servers and data streams which make up the internet in Canada are owned and controlled by corporations like Rogers and Bell. These businesses have potentially enormous power to control how the internet works, and how much it costs you to use it. Should the government regulate the ways they use this power? The answer, as I argue here, is both yes and no. (Winner of the IT.Can 2007 Student Essay Competition)
Canadian Journal of Administrative Law and Practice. Volume 20, Issue 3, page 305.
“Judicial Review” means a court reviewing a decision made by an administrative tribunal. When judicial review occurs, should the tribunal be allowed to send a lawyer to court to defend its decision? I think it generally should, and this article explains why.
If I emit greenhouse gases, and as a result the climate changes and you consequently suffer damage to your property or person, the law should allow you to sue me in tort. This article explains why this is so, and how we could reform Ontario law to make it a reality. (Winner of the 2007 CBA NEERLS Student Essay Competition)