Ontario Developing Guidelines on Listening to Children

Canadian Lawyer Magazine recently published an article about developing guidelines for judges in Ontario who meet with and interview children in family law.

Sometimes young people want to speak directly to a judge in family law cases. With this in mind, in 2010 Suzanne Williams from IICRD and an advisor to the BC Hear the Child Society surveyed judges from 11 jurisdictions for the National Judicial Institute (NJI) on guidelines and practices in use. The paper was presented at the NJI Family Law Program in 2010 and was included in materials at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Views of the Child session in 2010 chaired by Justice Czutrin, and the 2011 Meaningful Child Participation Course in BC hosted by CLEBC, IICRD and the Society. Judge Boshier from New Zealand presented at the session and shared the practice guideline that the New Zealand judges have been using.  The work in Ontario is definitely something to keep an eye on as we may be able to both learn and share some good practices applicable to all child interviews in family law.