The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Ontario honors Professor Nicholas Bala with an annual scholarship to a student who demonstrates qualities similar to his own. He is one of Canada’s most respected legal scholars and his contributions to family law seem endless. His work is interdisciplinary in scope and he has had a major impact on developing knowledge on the effect of legislation and the justice system on children and families. He has written extensively on many areas of family justice issues.
The AFCC-O is pleased to announce we appointed we have two recipients of the 2018 Nicholas Bala Award for Student Excellence.
Beth Ambury obtained her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Western Ontario and her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree at the University of Montana. She taught daycare and preschool throughout this time, which put her on the path to a career advocating for children and their families.
Ms. Ambury graduated from Queen’s University’s Faculty of Law in 2018. There, she participated in the Walsh Family Law Moot, first as an oralist then as a student coach. She worked as a student caseworker at the Queen’s Family Law Clinic (QFLC), where she prepared family court documents for self-representing litigants and guided them through the court process. She also worked with Pro Bono Students Canada’s Family Law Project as volunteer and then as project coordinator for the group of students providing access to justice to family litigants in Kingston. These clinical experiences taught her the most invaluable skills of law school: how to engage vulnerable clients, listen effectively, and create productive relationships to help clients translate the legally-significant issues of their individual situations into precise court documents. Ms. Ambury acted as Professor Bala’s research assistant from 2016-2018, where she conducted research into family court litigant experiences, parental alienation, spousal support entitlement, and child support.
Ms. Ambury is currently articling at a small law firm in Napanee, Ontario. She is interested in interdisciplinary family law to ensure that children are best supported through their family breakdown to minimize long-term negative effects from the trauma of separation.
Shawn Stewart obtained an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Sociology minor, and an Honours Bachelor of Education from the University of Windsor. He volunteered with Big Brothers and Big sisters for two years. During his undergrad he was employed by Windsor Family Respite, where he was a program coordinator for Fantastic Fridays; a social program for Autistic young teens from the ages of 12-18.
Shawn attended the University of Windsor for Law and graduated in June of 2018. In his time at the Law school he worked for Legal Assistance Windsor, and was part of Pro Bono Student Canada’s (PBSC) Family Law Project, volunteering at the Ontario Court of Justice. Shawn created the Windsor Family Law Society at Windsor Law and was the first ever President. He was invited to speak at the Windsor AFCC Roundtable on November 30th, 2016 to discuss the future of Family Law in Ontario. Shawn represented Windsor Law in their first ever National Baseball Arbitration Competition held in Tulane, Louisiana this past January. In 2017 Shawn became the Program Coordinator for Windsor Law’s PBSC program, and spoke at the National PBSC conference in May of 2018 on how to successfully organize a PBSC chapter for success.
Shawn has accepted an articling position with Kirwin Partner LLP in Windsor ON, and is currently working there to complete his articles. Shawn still continues to provide in home respite services in Windsor.