Children's Participation in Justice Processes: Finding the Best Ways Forward

Call for Papers


Finding the Best Ways Forward welcomes submissions from scholars, practitioners and others on subjects related to the participation of children and youth in justice processes. The bulk of the work at the symposium will be interactive and workshop-based, with minimal time allocated to plenary sessions. The symposium seeks to generate proposals for policy reform, best practices, and recommendations for future research about children’s participation in justice processes.


Presenters should be prepared to facilitate a 90-minute workshop, provide background materials for your workshop, which may include works of original scholarship, and produce a summary of the workshop's outcomes.

We invite submission of proposals for workshops on the following guidelines:

  • summary of your workshop topic, format and estimated time;
  • statement of your audiovisual requirements;
  • statement of the learning objectives and anticipated outcomes of your workshop;
  • list of any co-presenters who have confirmed their participation;
  • the current curricula vitae of all presenters;
  • your agreement to produce
    • a two-paragraph summary of your workshop topic,
    • a short, one-paragraph bio of each presenter, suitable for use in promotional activities, and
    • a summary of the anticipated outcomes, described below, from your workshop
    by 2 June 2017; and,
  • your agreement to participate as a panelist in other workshops, if required.

You must also agree to provide, and consent to publish, a written summary of the actual outcomes of your workshop following the symposium, by no later than 13 October 2017.

Submissions may be sent by email and must be received by 7 April 2017.

Please distribute this Call for Papers to anyone who may be interested. Click here to download a copy of the Call for Papers in PDF format.


This symposium is intended to be results-driven and generate practical and innovative proposals for policy reform, best practices, and recommendations for future research about the participation of children and youth in justice processes. Each workshop must be designed to produce an outcome of some sort, which may include:

  • the collective conclusions and recommendations emerging from your workshop;
  • your group's observations and opinions on the subject matter of your workshop;
  • suggestions for policy and policy reform;
  • proposals for guidelines, protocols and best practices; and,
  • suggested areas for further research and enquiry.

Workshop outcomes will be published as a record of the proceedings of the symposium.


Proposals are welcome on any subject related to children's participation in justice processes. Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following.

  1. Best practices:
    • the role of children’s counsel;
    • best practices for children’s legal clinics;
    • best practices for representing children;
    • best practices for judicial child interviews;
    • best practices for child interviews by lawyers and mental health professionals;
    • establishing and operating children’s legal clinics; and,
    • promoting legislative and regulatory change.
  2. Child participation:
    • the child in family law proceedings, child protection proceedings and youth criminal justice proceedings;
    • determining children’s competence and capacity to instruct counsel;
    • the child in parenting coordination processes;
    • roles for the child in mediation and collaborative law processes;
    • children’s testimony, affidavits and letters in court processes; and,
    • adapting court processes to accommodate children’s participation.
  3. Child interviews and assessments:
    • evaluative and non-evaluative views of the child reports;
    • confidentiality of professionals’ communications with children;
    • child interviewers on the stand;
    • the role of early assessments and parenting assessments in family law and child protection proceedings;
    • training child interviewers; and,
    • establishing child interviewer rosters.
  4. Children’s rights:
    • children and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
    • children and Canadian human rights legislation; and,
    • the practical and legal effect of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child within Canada.

Registration Fees

Symposium presenters are entitled to a discount of $50 from their registration fee. We regret that, as a result of budgetary constraints, we are unable to subsidize presenters' travel and accommodation costs or offer a more substantial reduction in the registration fee.


Please send your workshop proposal to John-Paul Boyd, Executive Director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, by 7 April 2017 at:

Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family
308-301 14th Street NW
Calgary, AB T2N2A1


If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact John-Paul Boyd at or by telephone at +1 403-216-0340.

Click here to download a copy of the Call for Papers in PDF format.




Alberta Office of the Child and Youth Advocate Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family


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