Robert Harvie: A Champion of Family Justice Reform and Advocate for Fairness in the Legal System




Family justice reform is a complex and pressing issue that requires innovative solutions. Robert Harvie, a former Alberta bencher, has dedicated his career to advocating for change in the family justice system. With a background in law and a passion for litigation, Harvie has been at the forefront of various initiatives aimed at improving access to justice and transforming the way family law operates. This article delves into Harvie’s journey, his contributions to family justice reform, and the impact of his work.


Early Years and Career Choice


Growing up with a mother who worked as a court administrator, Harvie was exposed to the legal system from a young age. While considering a career in teaching, Harvie found the law intriguing and decided to pursue it as his profession. However, the economic recession in Alberta during the 1980s compelled him to shift his focus to family law, as corporate and commercial law opportunities were limited.


A Lifelong Commitment to Family Justice Reform


Throughout his career, Harvie has been a staunch advocate for family justice reform. His dedication to this cause is evident in his involvement with various organizations and initiatives. Harvie served as the chair of the advisory board for the National Self Represented Litigants Project, where he worked towards empowering individuals navigating the legal system without representation. Additionally, he was a board member for the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, contributing his expertise to research and policy development in the field of family law.

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Challenging the Status Quo


Harvie’s frustration with the lack of imagination in the justice system led him to actively seek systemic change. He recalls a session where participants were asked to reimagine the justice system using Legos, and he noticed that a majority of the groups proposed triage systems. While acknowledging the value of triage systems, Harvie believes that more substantial and holistic changes are necessary.


Addressing the Access to Justice Issue


One of the key challenges in family justice reform is the cost of accessing legal services. In 2015, Harvie collaborated with John Paul Boyd, the former executive director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, to establish the Alberta Limited Legal Services project. This online service enables consumers to find lawyers who offer limited-scope retainers, making legal assistance more affordable and accessible.


Embracing Technology and Innovation


Harvie recognizes the potential of technology in transforming the family justice system. He believes that harnessing technology can streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and improve access to justice. With the rapid advancement of digital tools and platforms, Harvie advocates for the integration of technology in the legal profession to overcome existing barriers.


Collaborative Efforts for Reform


Recognizing the need for collaboration and collective action, Harvie actively participated in the Reforming Family Justice working group. This multidisciplinary group brought together legal stakeholders from across Alberta to explore ways to reform family law. By engaging with professionals from various fields, Harvie fostered a collaborative environment aimed at finding innovative solutions.


Shaping the Future of Family Law

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Harvie’s contributions have left a lasting impact on the field of family law. His tireless efforts have paved the way for reforms that prioritize accessibility and effectiveness. Through his work, Harvie has inspired a new generation of legal professionals to challenge the status quo and advocate for meaningful change.




Robert Harvie’s journey as a family justice reform advocate is a testament to the power of dedication and innovation. His commitment to improving access to justice and transforming the family justice system has made a significant impact. By embracing technology, fostering collaboration, and challenging traditional approaches, Harvie has set a precedent for future reforms in family law. As the need for change persists, Harvie’s legacy serves as a guiding light for those striving to create a more equitable and efficient family justice system.


Primary Keyword: family justice reform


Secondary Keywords: Robert Harvie, access to justice, family law, systemic change, technology in law


Additional Information: Robert Harvie has been recognized for his contributions to family justice reform and has worked with organizations such as the National Self Represented Litigants Project and the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family.


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