How do we decolonize something as colonially entrenched as Canada’s legal system? Meaningful access to justice for Indigenous peoples in British Columbia is deeply connected to addressing the colonial roots of the legal system. Such access will require decolonizing strategies that are responsive to Indigenous peoples’ own understandings of justice.

Rise Women’s Legal Centre is very proud to present our latest report on improving the legal system and access to justice in BC: Decolonizing Family Law Through Trauma-Informed Practices. This report was co-authored by Myrna McCallum, a Métis-Cree mother, grandmother, lawyer, educator, and expert in trauma-informed legal practice, and Haley Hrymak, a settler and Rise’s research and community outreach lawyer.

Areas of improvement identified by nearly all experts consulted were “the need to expand the legal system’s understanding of family law to make room for Indigenous laws and concepts, the need for education, and the need for lawyers and other legal system professionals to engage in trauma-informed practice”, which can help lawyers work more effectively with Indigenous clients and may have the added benefit of creating a more compassionate legal system generally, allowing clients from other marginalized communities to benefit from this approach.

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