Number of files
The number of child representation files may vary substantially between geographic service areas. LAA cannot estimate how many certificates it may offer to panel members, because this will depend on how many lawyers LAA selects for the panel and where these lawyers practice law and the number of court orders for independent counsel for children.
Representation of children in high conflict parenting matters is a mandated service pursuant to LAA Governance Agreement and is a priority area for LAA staff offices where LAA has a child representation team of staff lawyers who have training and expertise in representation of children.
All independent counsel files are sent in priority to the staff offices for acceptance. Independent counsel files will be sent to roster panel members when the staff offices have a legal conflict of interest, do not service a geographic location, are at capacity for child representation files or where a roster counsel has a pre-existing relationship with the child client.
Each panel member is expected to maintain experience and currency in child representation matters by taking a reasonable number of child representation files offered to them during their time on the panel. Lawyers on the panel must also be prepared to accept files throughout their geographic service areas.
Training and continuing legal education
In addition to taking these files, panel lawyers are expected to seek out continuing legal education opportunities relevant to the competencies listed above and complete at least 8 hours per year of professional continuing education in representation of children. This may include a combination of:
- Attending training sessions, seminars, or webinars offered by LAA’s staff lawyers or others in the area of child representation;
- Attending training on child representation offered by a recognized organization or associations including but not limited to Legal Education Society of Alberta (“LESA’) Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (“AFCC’), Legal Representation of Children and Youth (LRCY), International Centre for Children and Family Law (ICCF) or other private training that may be offered from time to time;
- Reading treatises, academic papers and caselaw relevant to child representation and/ or high conflict parenting matters;
- Undertaking cultural competency training or other training that helps the lawyer gain a greater understanding of the challenges facing Indigenous children and families.
LAA may also direct panel members to undertake specific professional development activities. Lawyers who intend to reapply to the panel should be prepared to explain what continuing legal education they have undertaken in relation to the panel competencies.