Linda Neilson   2011 University Research Scholar Award Recipient

Dr. Neilson brings to her academic work a unique combination of multi-disciplinary academic and professional expertise. Dr. Neilson completed her professional law degree (LL.B.) at UNB and this was followed by ten years of law practice in Canada. At that point, Dr. Neilson returned to university, this time in England, and obtained a Ph.D. in Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London. For many years, whilst a faculty member here at UNB, she has been engaged in national legal research for Canadian judges on behalf of the National Judicial Institute of Canada (Ottawa).

Since the days of her doctoral dissertation, Linda Neilson has been interested in family mediation and conflict resolution. She brings to her work a dedication to the legal system and a passion for making connections among research, policy, and practice in order to ensure that the legal system and associated government policies respond knowledgeably, compassionately, and effectively to the circumstances of families, particularly women and children. She conducts research in partnership with front line professionals (e.g., mediators, judges, practising lawyers) in order to ensure relevance and applicability.

Over the last few years, Dr. Neilson's work has received a high profile and earned her national and international recognition. For the past seven years Dr. Neilson has conducted a comprehensive analysis of research on the operation oflegal systems in domestic violence cases in Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand; connected that body of research to a comprehensive analysis of multiple areas of social science research; and linked those bodies of research to judicial practice principles, case law and statutes from fourteen legal jurisdictions in Canada (provincial, territorial, federal) in order to provide practical tools the legal system can use to respond appropriately in domestic violence cases.

This research has resulted in an eighteen-chapter, 1700 page, academically and judicially peer-reviewed electronic bench book titled Domestic Violence and Family Law in Canada: A Handbook for Judges (Ottawa: National Judicial Institute, 2009; with introductory comments by Justice John F. McGarry (Superior Court, Ontario)). The book is identified in electronic e-book format as: Domestic Violence Family Law. The work has attracted both national and international attention. Besides adoption by the National Judicial Institute for use by Canadian judges, two state justice departments in Australia (Victoria and South Australia) have cited the book for best practices and have recommended adoption (following integration of Australian legal cases and statute law) at both the State and Commonwealth levels. The Chief Magistrate for the State of Victoria and a national advisory committee has made similar recommendations. Judicial associations in the United States are making use of her work to prepare State Judicial Bench Books; Australian magistrates are using her work in judicial education programs in the domestic violence field in Australia as is the National Judicial Institute in Canada.

In addition to her extensive involvement in the law, legal system and domestic violence work, Dr. Linda Neilson also works closely with the Property Studies Centre at UNB in connection with international policies and practices associated with conflict resolution and community development. In

2007-2009, she participated as Canada's conflict resolution expert in the Property Centre's SRS-SA

community land restoration project in South Africa at the University of Pretoria.

Greg Kealey
Vice-President (Research) and Provost