John-Paul E. Boyd, AOCA MA LLB, is an accredited family law arbitrator, family law mediator and parenting coordinator, a member of the bars of Alberta and British Columbia, and counsel to the preeminent Calgary family law firm Wise Scheible Barkauskas. 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 private practice, serving all of Alberta and British Columbia, in 2018.

John-Paul Boyd

John-Paul Boyd

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 national Child & Youth Law Section and its voice of the child subcommittee, the CBA Alberta’s Access to Justice Committee and the IAFL’s LGBT Committee, and is a juror of the Walter Owen Book Prize, awarded by the Canadian Foundation for Legal Research, and the Allan Falconer Memorial Essay Contest, awarded by the Canadian Journal of Family Law.

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, polyamory and polyamorous families, 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 and parenting coordination in Canada. Those of his publications which are available to the public can be found on the website of the University of Calgary Library.

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 at the public library in Maple Ridge, BC with a copy of  JP Boyd on Family Law

John-Paul at the public library in Maple Ridge, BC with a copy of JP Boyd on Family Law

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 taught 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, Justice Canada, the National Judicial Institute, the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, The Collaborative Review, The Advocate and the CBA’s National Magazine. He is a member of the advisory board of the Canadian Journal of Family Law and has served as an external reviewer for the Windsor Law Yearbook of Access to Justice and the Alberta Law Review.

John-Paul is consulted by law societies, law foundations, courts, provincial governments and the federal government on family law matters, public legal education and legislative and procedural reform. 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 and the Law Society of British Columbia’s Licensed Paralegal Task Force. He has given evidence as an expert on family law legislation to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

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.

Media appearances

John-Paul being interviewed at CBC Radio’s Calgary studio

John-Paul being interviewed at CBC Radio’s Calgary studio

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 CBA’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 at Noon, CPAC, NewsTalk 770, 660 NEWS, CBC’s Maritime Noon, CBC’s The National, CBC’s The Current, CBC’s The 180 and TVO’s Word Bomb podcast discussing issues such as the proposed amendments to the Divorce Act, polyamorous relationships and the law, 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 is a family law columnist for the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta’s LawNow Magazine and writes on family justice topics for the online legal magazine Slaw and The Lawyer’s Daily, published by LexisNexis. He is the editor of the CBA national Family Law Section’s The Family Way.

awards & recognition

John-Paul receiving the Distinguished Service Award from the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association Alberta

John-Paul receiving the Distinguished Service Award from the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association Alberta

John-Paul Boyd is a recipient of the CBA’s National Pro Bono Service Award, the UBC Law Alumni Association’s Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, the CBA British Columbia’s Pro Bono Award and, most recently, the Distinguished Service Award presented by the Law Society of Alberta and the CBA Alberta. He 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 CBA, the BC Ministry of Justice, the University of Victoria Law Centre and the Justice Education Society.

Endorsements & recommendations

Cyndy Morin, a family law lawyer in Calgary, Alberta commented on our Facebook page that:

Mr. Boyd is well versed in the law and has excellent Med/Arb skills. He is on our recommended professionals list at our firm, Resolve Legal Group. We always refers files to him because of the excellent feedback we’ve received from our clients about his services!

Al Soroka, a senior legal professional in British Columbia, commented that:

No doubt about it, this is the go-to lawyer on family and domestic matters. JP is a responsible, temperate and knowledgeable lawyer.

barbara findlay, QC, a noted LGBTQ advocate and family law, immigration, wills and estates and human rights lawyer in Vancouver, British Columbia, said that:

JP has great skill and depth of experience.

Robert Harvie, QC, a family law lawyer in Lethbridge, Alberta, commented that:

I've known John-Paul for some time, and his background knowledge and personality, IMHO, is very conducive to work as an arbitrator and mediator!

Angela Thiele, a family law, employment law and wills and estates lawyer in Vancouver, British Columbia, described John-Paul as:

Best legal mind in the family law area in years.