July 23, 2015 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

By Nicole Bullock 

King’s University College Professor Dr. Rachel Birnbaum is partnering with Professor Nick Bala of Queen’s University to work with Pro Bono Students Canada on an inventive study. The study will look to survey both represented and self-represented family law litigants to better understand their experiences in the courts.

Starting in the fall of 2015, The Family Law Litigant Survey Project will collect and analyze empirical data to understand the challenges faced by family litigants. “Since our research in 2009, we know that the number of parents going to family court without lawyers is steadily increasing; presenting with many challenges to parents, lawyers, and the family justice system.  As a result, there has been an increased focus on information for self-represented litigants who are involved in custody and access disputes. Yet, little is known about whether the services and information being provided is helpful to parents and what their experiences are with the family justice system,” says Dr. Birnbaum. The hope is that this survey will result in greater understanding of issues related to the family justice system in Ontario, and will assist in making improvements to the system overall. Dr. Birnbaum explains; “our research will also be the first evidence-based study on access to justice and will include results on the effects of different court-related services and address the efficiency and effectiveness of these interventions.”

The study will run during the 2015-2016 and the 2016-17 academic year. “We are working with law students from five law school programs across Ontario that are part of Pro Bono Canada. I also always work with King’s students to assist with other aspects of our research projects,” says Dr. Birnbaum.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Rachel Birnbaum 
Email: rbirnbau@uwo.ca
Telephone: 519-433-3491 x 4431
Toll Free: 1-800-265-4406­­