John-Paul E. Boyd, AOCA MA LLB, is an arbitrator, a mediator and a parenting coordinator, and a member of the bars of Alberta and British Columbia. John-Paul practiced family law in Vancouver for 14 years before taking a position as the executive director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, a non-profit organization affiliated with the University of Calgary, in 2013. He took his training as a mediator in 2005, as a parenting coordinator in 2007, as an arbitrator in 2011 and as a collaborative practitioner in 2012, and returned to full-time practice in 2018.
John-Paul is a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and a member of the ADR Institute of Canada, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the International Society of Family Law and the Canadian Bar Association. He presently serves on the executive of the CBA’s Child & Youth Law Section and the CBA Alberta’s Access to Justice Committee, and is a jury member for the Walter Owen Book Prize awarded by the Canadian Foundation for Legal Research.
John-Paul’s work at the research institute included important and often ground-breaking studies on topics including the arbitration of family law disputes, children’s participation in justice processes, the cost and efficiency of dispute resolution processes, disclosure and enforcement remedies in family law disputes, persons without counsel in the justice system, parenting apart and the effect of parental conflict on children, access to family justice and justice reform, alienated and estranged children, elder issues in family law, parenting coordination and polyamory in Canada. Those of his publications which are available to the public can be found on the website of the University of Calgary Library.
John-Paul regularly writes and lectures on family law topics for courts, law societies, bar associations, law students and the public. John-Paul is the founding author of the acclaimed public legal education wikibook JP Boyd on Family Law and its former companion blog, the first legal blog cited in a Canadian court judgment. He is a frequent speaker for the National Judicial Institute, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the National Family Law Program, the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, the Trial Lawyers Association of BC, and the Legal Education Society of Alberta, and has provided the family law course for upper-year law students at the University of Calgary. His written work has been published by organizations including the UBC Law Review, Canadian Family Law Quarterly, the International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, the Journal of International Aging, Law and Policy, The Advocate, the federal Department of Justice, the National Judicial Institute, the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, slaw.ca and The Lawyer’s Daily. He is a member of the advisory board of the Canadian Journal of Family Law and the board of directors of Aspire Legal Services, an innovative legal incubator serving lower-income Calgarians ineligible for legal aid.
Before starting work at the research institute, John-Paul was instrumental in founding the BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society, the BC Hear the Child Society and a Vancouver-based society of family law arbitrators.
John-Paul is a recipient of the CBA’s National Pro Bono Service Award, the UBC Law Alumni Association’s Outstanding Young Alumnus Award and the CBA British Columbia’s Pro Bono Award, and has received special recognition from organizations including the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, the British Columbia Law Institute and the BC Parenting Coordinators Roster Society. In a 2012 report of the BC Public Legal Education and Information Working Group, John-Paul, then working as a lawyer in private practice, was named as one of the six major providers of public legal education on family law in British Columbia, along with the Legal Services Society, the Canadian Bar Association, the BC Ministry of Justice, the University of Victoria Law Centre and the Justice Education Society.
John-Paul is consulted by courts, provincial governments and the federal government on family law matters and legislative reforms. He was a member of the British Columbia Attorney General’s Family Relations Act Review Advisory Committee and Family Law Act Advisory Group and the Provincial Court of British Columbia’s Family Law Rules Committee, and currently serves on Justice Canada’s Advisory Group on Public Legal Education and Information for Bill C-78 . He has given evidence as an expert on family law issues to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
John-Paul Boyd has been interviewed for and quoted in articles and editorials appearing in publications and websites including The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, CBC News, CTV News, the National Post, Global News, Maclean’s, the Calgary Herald, the Edmonton Journal, the Vancouver Sun, the Victoria Times Colonist, the Toronto Star, the Canadian Bar Association’s National Magazine, The Lawyer’s Daily, Law Times and Canadian Lawyer magazine. He appears frequently on radio and television on matters related to family justice. His most recent media appearances include CBC’s Calgary Eyeopener, Global National, 980 CKNW, CBC’s Alberta@Noon, CPAC, NewsTalk 770, 660 NEWS, CBC’s Maritime Noon, CBC’s The National, CBC’s The Current and CBC’s The 180, discussing issues such as the proposed amendments to the Divorce Act, the good divorce, resolving legal disputes out of court, legislative reforms, successfully parenting apart, alienated and estranged children, litigants without lawyers and parenting coordination.
John-Paul’s focus in family law disputes is on the big picture. He prioritizes the interests of children, the future functioning of families living apart, and the ability of parents to work together and cooperatively make decisions long after their legal dispute has been resolved. He supports the amendment of lawyers’ code of professional conduct to diminish hostility and conflict in family law disputes and require lawyers to consider the effects of dispute resolution processes on the wellbeing of children when developing their approach to a dispute.