Nicholas Bala is a leading Canadian expert on legal issues related to children, youth and families in the justice system, and also teaches and writes about Contract Law. Nick obtained his law degrees from Queen’s University (J.D. 1977) and Harvard (LL.M. 1980). He has been a Professor at the Faculty of Law at Queen’s since 1980, and has also been a Visiting Professor at McGill, Duke and the University of Calgary. He has received teaching awards at Queen’s University, and served as Associate Dean at the Law School for the past five years.
Professor Bala is an expert on Family and Children’s Law, with research focusing on issues related to children and families in the justice system, including: the role of experts in the family justice process; judicial interviews with children and legal representation of children; child welfare law; youth justice and young offenders; parental rights and responsibilities after divorce, including parental alienation; spousal abuse and its effects on children; child witnesses in the criminal courts; the Charter of Rights and the family; the Hague Convention on Child Abduction; and access to family justice. Much of his research work is interdisciplinary; he has undertaken many collaborative projects with psychologists, social workers, criminologists and health professionals to better understand the effects of involvement in the justice system on children, youth and families. His work is cited by all levels of court in Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada as well as trial and appellate courts across the country, and has also been cited by courts in the USA, England and Australia.
Prof. Bala has also worked with Canada’s National Judicial Institute on education programs for judges in the family and criminal justice fields. He has presented at many conferences and professional education programs for judges, lawyers, probation officers, youth workers, teachers, doctors, psychologists, child welfare workers, and social workers in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Trinidad, Jamaica and Hong Kong. He won the Queen’s University Prize for Excellence in Research in 2006, and was awarded the Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award by the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts in 2008. His contributions to family law research and professional education were recognized in awards from Ontario’s Law Society and the Ontario Bar Association in 2009. In 2013 Prof. Bala was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is also a member of the Board of the Canadian Research Institute on Law and the Family.