“Are we there yet? Reflecting on A2J Progress & the Obligation to Advance A2J in Manitoba”


Host: The Law Society of Manitoba

When: Wednesday, October 25th, 2023, 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm CDT

Where: online

CPD: This program offers 2.0 hours of continuing professional development, all of which may be reported as EPPM (Ethics, Professionalism, Practice Management) hours.

Join us for a reflection on the tenth anniversary of the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters 2013 report, “Access to Justice & Family Justice: A Roadmap for Change”, and the nine Justice Development Goals identified to bridge the implementation gap. Representatives from The Manitoba Law Society, The Manitoba Law Foundation, Legal Aid Manitoba, and the Manitoba Law Reform Commission gather to discuss the status of the Justice Development Goals in Manitoba, how interpretations of access to justice have evolved, and share insight on the status of access to justice in Manitoba and what the future of access to justice looks like for our province. 

The Panel

Natasha Brown

Natasha Brown is the Director of Access to Justice & Community Engagement at the University of Manitoba- Faculty of Law (Robson Hall).  Previously her position was situated at the Law Society of Manitoba.  In this role, Natasha leads access to justice initiatives and coordinates access work among stakeholders.  Prior to assuming her current role, Natasha was the Director of Professional Practice & Externships at Robson Hall and was the former Legal Director of the Legal Help Centre of Winnipeg, Inc. (“LHC”). Natasha received her Bachelor of Education in 2001 and her Bachelor of Laws in 2005. Natasha worked in private practice, exclusively in the area of family law, until 2012 when she joined LHC. Natasha currently teaches Access to Justice at Robson Hall.  Natasha is an elected council member of the Manitoba Bar Association and a former President of the Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education (ACCLE).  Natasha was awarded the National Lexpert Zenith Award in 2017, Robson Hall’s Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2020 and was designated a Jurist of Robson Hall in 2022.

Darcia Senft

Darcia Senft is employed with The Law Society of Manitoba as General Counsel and Director of Policy and Ethics. In that capacity, she provides opinions on matters affecting the Law Society and governance of its members and provides advice and direction to lawyers relating to professional responsibility and ethics. For approximately 13 years, she also prosecuted members who were charged with professional misconduct or incompetence. Prior to that, she was Director of Discipline at the Law Society and oversaw the work of the complaints investigation unit. 

Darcia was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1988 and to the Ontario Bar in 1993. She has been an active member of her profession having served as a Bencher of the Law Society and a non-Bencher member of various committees. She is also a Life Council Member of the Manitoba Bar Association.

From 2016 – 2019, she was a member of the CBA Ethics and Professional Responsibility Sub-Committee and served as its Chair for two of those years. She was reappointed to the CBA Ethics subcommittee in 2021 and reappointed as Chair in 2023. For the past several years, Darcia has also acted as the Co-Chair of the Federation of Law Societies “Access to Legal Services Exchange Group.”

Darcia has been an occasional instructor for the Law Society’s Bar Admission program and a presenter at Law Society CPD programs. For three years, she was a sessional lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba where she co-taught the Legal Profession and Professional Responsibility or “ethics” course.

She has presented at conferences and forums hosted by The Law Society of Ontario, the Manitoba Bar Association, the Federation of Law Societies, the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Association of Legal Ethics.

Peter Kingsley, K.C.

Peter Kingsley received his LLB from Robson Hall in 1994.  He articled with Legal Aid Manitoba (LAM) in Winnipeg and after his call to the Bar became a staff attorney in Dauphin.  Practicing primarily criminal and youth law Peter has appeared at all levels of court in Manitoba.  In 2009 Peter was appointed as the Acting Area Director for the Parkland Region and in 2011 he moved back to Winnipeg as the Senior Area Director for LAM and a member of the Executive Management Committee.  In 2021 Peter was appointed as Executive Director.  

Peter is a Life Council Member of the Manitoba Bar Association, was the Treasurer of the MBA from 2015 – 2021 and was appointed King’s Council in 2019.  Peter is currently the Western Canada Representative to the Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada Executive and sits on various National and Provincial Committees.  Peter is married with two adult children.

Kristal Bayes-McDonald

Kristal Bayes-McDonald has served as the Director and Legal Counsel for the Manitoba Law Reform Commission since 2019. Prior to that, she served as legal counsel to the Commission and practiced in the areas of family law and civil litigation. She obtained her JD from Queen’s University and is also a very proud alumnus of Brandon University where she serves on the Board of Governors.

Erin Wilcott

Erin is an alumnus of both the University of Winnipeg (B.A. 1998) and Dalhousie University (LL.B., 2002) and was called to the Bar in Manitoba (2003). After several years in private practice with a large Winnipeg firm, she filled a variety of non-practicing, management roles with the firm relating to professional development, practice support and general operations.

In June 2019, Erin began her role as Executive Director with The Manitoba Law Foundation, a not-for-profit, grant making organization established under The Legal Profession Act. For the past four years, she has committed her time and energy in this role to advancing the mandate of the Foundation which is to provide grants that encourage and promote legal education, legal research, law reform, legal aid services, and the development and maintenance of law libraries.

In her spare time Erin enjoys reading and listening to podcasts, as well engaging in several hobbies that provide creative outlets. In the evenings and weekends, she can be found enthusiastically cheering on her two teenagers as they play hockey, ringette, soccer, and softball.

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