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BHM Lawyer Suzanne Williams presented at the April 21, 2017  When the Home is not a Haven: Protecting the Child Conference hosted by The Trial Lawyers Association of BC in Vancouver.  Lawyers from across BC learned about key challenges in Family Law cases that also involve child protection or criminal justice issues, and ideas to overcome them.

Suzanne presented with Cheyenne Stonechild, a young child rights advocate.  Do children have rights in family law?  How can they be supported in law? These were just some of the questions Suzanne and Cheyenne answered in setting out what child rights are, where they come from, and their legal status in Canada.  Suzanne emphasized the importance of a child rights-based approach, informed by the context of the child, which upholds the child’s best interests and full, healthy development.  This applies to both the processes used to resolve Family Law cases and the outcomes sought.

Other topics covered included multiple court proceedings in family violence, criminal aspects of physical and sexual child abuse, and discrete areas of the law including the Court’s use of parens patriae jurisdiction.

The Trial Lawyers Association of BC has 1400 voluntary members and strives to:

  • promote the rights of individuals
  • preserve the jury system
  • improve the professionalism and standards of trial lawyers
  • enhance access to justice
  • protect the innocent
  • promote judicial integrity and independence

In general, members of the Trial Lawyers Association of BC (TLABC) tend to represent individuals rather than corporations, governments or other large entities. Our voluntary membership base is 1400+ people strong, with lawyers practicing throughout the province in a variety of areas. TLABC was founded in 1980, and has operated as a registered not-for-profit society since then. As our mission statement attests, TLABC members are united with the goals of protecting the rights of individuals, ensuring access to the courts, preserving the jury system and maintaining the highest standards in legal education for the profession.