John-Paul Boyd has interviewed children and youth in the context of family law disputes since 2007. He has written extensively on the subject of children’s participation in justice processes, served as children’s counsel, organized a national symposium of legal and mental health professionals on hearing the voices of children in justice processes, and was instrumental in establishing the BC Hear the Child Society, the first organization of its kind in Canada.
views of the child reports
The views of the child reports available from John-Paul Boyd Arbitration Chambers are non-evaluative, meaning that they merely describe what the child has said and agreed John-Paul may report. They do not editorialize or offer an opinion about the child’s views, including about the extent to which the views expressed by the child match the child’s actual wishes and preferences. They are, however, an efficient and effective way to hear the views of children in legal disputes affecting their interests that complies with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Views of the child reports can be prepared inexpensively and quickly, often within a day or two depending on timing and John-Paul’s availability. On occasion, John-Paul has been able to complete a report on the same day he is contacted, usually at the request of the court.
John-Paul’s views of the child reports have been cited in decisions of the Provincial Court, Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of British Columbia.
The affidavits of children and youth used in family law disputes should not be drafted by the lawyer for a party, or by a lawyer working in association with that lawyer. In order to avoid any impression of influence or other impropriety, children’s affidavits should be prepared by an independent, neutral lawyer with no affiliation to either party.
John-Paul Boyd is skilled at communicating with children and young people, establishing rapport with them and helping them tell their stories in a way with which they are comfortable.
Children’s independent legal advice
Young people, usually children aged 12 and older, must consent to certain legal steps such as the appointment of a guardian, adoption or a change of name. The child’s consent must be “unequivocal, informed and voluntarily,” as the Ontario Court of Justice has put it, and the child must accordingly receive advice from independent counsel about the meaning and effect of the decision the child is being asked to make.
John-Paul Boyd is able to express complicated legal ideas in ways that children and young people easily understand. He will prepare an affidavit for use in court and administrative proceedings summarizing the information communicated to the child, explaining the child’s apparent understanding of that information and stating the child’s decision.