Rollie Thompson, K.C. to deliver Ivan C. Rand Memorial Lecture

Author: Ed Bowes

Posted on Jan 10, 2024

Category: Students , Alumni , Faculty

Please join us for the 27th Ivan C. Rand Memorial Lecture. UNB Law is pleased to welcome this year’s guest lecturer, Rollie Thompson, K.C., who will present: Rules, discretion and reform in Canadian family law. Rollie Thompson is Professor Emeritus, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, and Counsel, Epstein Cole LLP.

Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024
5 p.m. (reception to follow in the student lounge)
Mary Louise Lynch Room (2A/B), UNB Faculty of Law
This in-person lecture is free for all who wish to attend

Register now

Rules, discretion and reform in Canadian family law

Law reform has been one of the constants in Canadian family law, since the 1980s. All family law is statute law. Federal and provincial statutes have both led and followed changes in Canadian families. Financial matters have been subjected to “rules” and strong presumptions in statutes and guidelines: Division of family property and pensions, child support guidelines and spousal support advisory guidelines. Courts have readily applied these “rules”.

By contrast, most parenting issues have been left to judicial “discretion”, reflected in the individualised “best interests of the child” test. Statutory attempts to define and constrain “best interests” with presumptions can be seen in modern child protection statutes and in the recent relocation laws, both less successful in the courts.

Finally, family law “rules” of procedure have proven to be highly discretionary and difficult for lawyers and unrepresented litigants.

About UNB Law’s lecture series

The Viscount Bennett Memorial Lecture Series and the Ivan C. Rand Memorial Lecture Series are UNB Law’s premier annual guest lectures that showcase incredible legal minds from across Canada.