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Queen's University

Professor Nicholas Bala

Nicholas C. Bala

L.S.M., B.A. (Toronto), J.D. (Queen's), LL.M. (Harvard)

Faculty of Law
Queen's University
Kingston, Ontario
K7L 3N6
tel: 613-533-6000, ext 74275
fax: 613-533-6509

Teaching Subjects

  • Advanced Family Law
  • Children's Law
  • Clinical Family Law
  • Family Law
  • Contracts

Recent Professional Achievements 

    • Principal investigator of interdisciplinary group of researchers on child witness issues with funding from Social Sciences & Humanities research Council since 1999
    • Co-author of recent reports for government of Canada on family violence, legal status of polygamy, child witnesses and child support
    • Co-author of recent reports for government of Ontario on the Office of Child Advocacy, experts in child welfare cases and child abuse deaths
    • Frequently presenting to professional groups on issues relating to family and children's law, for such organizations as National Judicial Institute, Federation of Law Societies, Ontario Bar Association and Law Society of Upper Canada
    • Co-winner of Queen's University Prize for Excellence Research in 2006, and three times winner of Law Students Society teaching award.
    • Winner of Association of Family & Conciliation Courts Distinguished Research Award, 2008
    • Ontario Bar Association, Award for Excellence in Family Law, 2009
    • Law Society Medal, 2009
    • Work cited by all levels of court in Canada, including 29 times by the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as courts in the United States, great Britain and Australia.

      Current Research

      I am currently working on several projects in the Family and Children's law field on the role of the justice system and the government in the lives of families and children; a number of these projects have interdisciplinary aspects. I continue to do work related to child witnesses with psychologists, as well as with mental health experts on issues of alienation in parental separation cases. I am also undertaking a project with professors in psychology and social work on judicial interviews of children and the effect of involvement in the family justice system. I am also involved with the National Judicial Institute in judicial education programs dealing with high conflict family cases, self-represented family litigants, young offenders and child witnesses. My work on the constitutionality of Canada's polygamy law was cited by the British Columbia Supreme Court in its 2011 decision on this issue.

      A number of my recent projects have international or comparative aspects, and I have done work with justice system professionals and scholars in a number of countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong.

      I also continue to do work in Contract Law, and I am the co-editor of casebook in this field, which is used at a number of Canadian law schools, including Queen's.

      Recent Publications


        • Bala & Anand, Youth Criminal Justice Law(3rd edit), Toronto, Irwin Law, forthcoming.
        • Fidler, Bala & Saini, Children Resisting Post-Separation Contact: A Differential Approach for Legal and Mental Professionals (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012)
        • Swan, Reiter & Bala, Contracts: Cases, Notes & Materials (8th edit.), Butterworths, Toronto, 2010

          Reports for Governments and Non-Governmental Organizations

            • Paetsch, Bertrand,Walker, MacRae & Bala, Consultation On The Voice Of The Child At The 5th World Congress On Family Law And Children's Rights, (National Judicial Institute and Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, for Department of Justice Canada, 2009).
            • Bala, Paetsch, Bertrand & Thomas, Testimonial Support Provisions for Children and Vulnerable Adults (Bill C-2):Case Law Review & Perceptions of the Judiciary, Canadian Research Institute for Law & the Family, for the Department of Justice Canada (2011)
            • Bala & Leckey, "The Charter & Family Law: The First 30 Years," National Judicial Institute, Family E-letter, April 17, 2012.


                • Jaffe, Crooks & Bala, "Seeking a Road Less Traveled: Reconsidering the Journeys Taken by Victims of Domestic Violence in Family Court" (2009), 6(3) Journal of Child Custody 169-188.
                • Bala, "R v  D.B.: The Constitutionalization Of Adolescence" (2009), 47 Supreme Court Law Review211-234.
                • Bala, "Youth as Offenders and Victims in the Criminal Justice System: A Charter Analysis - Recognizing Vulnerability," (2008) 40 Supreme Court Law Review595-625; also chapter in J. Cameron & J. Stribopoulos eds., The Charter and Criminal Justice: Twenty-Five Years Later (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2009).
                • Cesaroni & Bala, "Deterrence as a Principle of Youth Sentencing: No Effect on Youth, but a Significant Effect on Judges" (2008) 34 Queens L.J. 447-481.
                • Bala, Carrington & Roberts, "Evaluating the Youth Criminal Justice Act After Five Years - A Qualified Success," (2009), 51(2) Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice 131-168.
                • Birnbaum & Bala, "The Child's Perspective on Legal Representation: Young Adults Report on Their Experiences with Child Lawyers" (2009), 25 Canadian Journal of Family Law 11- 71.
                • Bala, A. Evans & E. Bala, Hearing the Voices of Children in Canadas Criminal Justice System: Recognizing Capacity and Facilitating Testimony (2010), 22 Child & Family Law Quarterly(U.K.) 21-45.
                • Bala, S.Hunt & C.McCarney, "Parental Alienation: Canadian Court Cases 1989-2008" (2010), 48 Family Court Review162-177.
                • Fidler &  Bala, Children Resisting Post-Separation Contact With a Parent: Concepts, Controversies and Conundrums (2010), 48 Family Court Review 10-47.
                • Birnbaum & Bala, "Towards the Differentiation of ‘High Conflict' Families: An Analysis of Social Science Research and Canadian Case Law" (2010), 48:3 Family Court Review 403-416
                • Bala, "Why Canada's Prohibition of Polygamy is Constitutionality Valid and Sound Social Policy" (2010), 25 Canadian Journal of Family Law 165-221.
                • Bala, Lee, Lindsay, Talwar, "The Competency of Children to Testify: Psychological Research Informing Canadian Law Reform" (2010), 18(1) International Journal of Children's Rights53-77.
                • Bala, Birnbaum & Martinson, "Differentiated Case Management for Family Cases: 'One Judge for One Family'" (2011), 26 Canadian Journal of Family Law 339-394.
                • Birnbaum, Bala & Cyr, "Children's Experiences with Family Justice Professionals in Ontario and Ohio" (2011), 25 International Journal Law, Policy and the Family 398-422.
                • Bala & Ashbourne, "The Widening Concept of 'Parent' in Canada: Step-Parents, Same-Sex Partners & Parents by ART," (2012) 20 American University Journal of Social Policy & the Law 525-560.
                • Evans, Brunet, Lee, Talwar, Bala & Lindsay, "The Effects of Repetition on Children's True and False Reports," (forthcoming 2012) Psychiatry, Psychology and Law.
                • Birnbaum & Bala, "Views of Ontario Lawyers on Family Litigrants without Representation" (2012), 63 University of New Brunswick Law Journal 99-124.
                • Bala & Wheeler, "Canadian Relocation Cases: Heading Towards Guidelines" (2012), 30 Can Fam L. Q. 271-320.

                  Book chapters

                    • Crooks, Jaffe & Bala, "Factoring in the effects of children's exposure to domestic violence in determining appropriate post-separation parenting plans," in M. Hannah and B. Goldstein, eds, Domestic Violence, Abuse, and Child Custody: Legal Strategies and Policy Issues(Kingston, NJ: Civic Research Institute, 2010), p. 22-2 to 22-25.
                    • Bala, "Child Welfare Law in Canada," Chapter 1 in K. Kufeldt & B. McKenzie, Child Welfare: Connecting Research, Policy and Practice ,2nd edition (Wilfrid Laurier Press, forthcoming, 2010. )
                    • Bala, "Expert Evidence, Assessments and Judicial Notice: Understanding the Family Context," in H. Niman & A. Volikis, editors, Evidence in Family Law Cases (Aurora, Ont.: Canada Law Book, 2010) p 5-1 to 5-84.
                    • Bala. "Reforming Family Dispute Resolution in Ontario: Systemic Changes & Cultural Shifts," M. Trebilcock, A Duggan & L. Sossin, eds, Access To Justice for the Middle Class (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012) 271-315.
                    • Saini, Johnston, Fidler & Bala, "Empirical Studies of Alientation," Chap. 13 in K.F. Kuehnle & L.M. Drozd, eds. Parenting Plan Evaluations for the Family Court (New York: Oxford University Press:, 2012) 399-441.

                      Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000