News from the Consensus Development Conference on Legal Issues of FASD


The Consensus Development Conference on Legal Issues of FASD wrapped up Friday Sept. 18, 2013 in Edmonton.

A quick update for those who were not in attendance: The three day conference featured presentations from experts in the field of FASD on a broad range of topics concerning FASD as a disorder and its relation to the justice system. A “jury” of legal experts attended the conference and, following the second day of presentations, wrote a consensus document highlighting the information they had garnered from the presentations. Also included in this document were recommendations for the justice system based on information from presentations. The consensus document was well received by speakers and attendees alike.

Specific questions addressed by the jury’s consensus document included:

1. What are the implications of FASD for the legal system?

2. Is there a need for enhanced efforts to identify people with FASD, and how can these efforts be achieved?

3. How can the criminal justice system respond more effectively to those with FASD?

4. How can family courts and the family/child welfare legal system address the specific needs of people with FASD?

5. What are the best practices for guardianship, trusteeship and social support in a legal context?

6. What legal measures are there in different jurisdictions to contribute to the prevention of FASD, and what are the ethical and economic implications of these measures?

Included in the consensus document was the recommendation that conditional sentences be allowed for individuals with FASD. The Montreal Gazette featured this recommendation in a recent article titled “Panel says Criminal Code should allow conditional sentences for people with FASD”

Montreal Gazette FASD justice conf article

Stay tuned: The conference website states that the  final draft of the consensus document will be made available to those interested in the subject. We have contacted the conference organizers to get the scoop on where the document will be distributed and will let you know once we have heard back.