Victoria Shroff

Room B


Nominated 3 x for Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada. Credited as an animal law pioneer Victoria Shroff is one of the 1st and longest serving animal law practitioners in Canada and the 1st animal law lawyer in Western Canada to have a focus on animal law for 20 years. A changemaker in ethos and action, she gives a voice to voiceless animals. Shroff is known as trailblazer in both the practice and education of animal law in Canada. Aside from practicing at her downtown Vancouver law firm, she is erstwhile adjunct professor of animal law at UBC’s Allard School of Law, founded and taught the first animal law course for paralegals at Capilano University. Shroff also established and teaches her own children’s animal law program with dogs, Paws of Empathy. She acts for animal law clients at all levels of court in a wide range of noteworthy animal law cases. In 2019, she and her team filed leave to the Supreme Court of Canada for a ground-breaking animal law case, which was regularly featured in media and is precedent-setting. Shroff saw how the case influenced a municipal aggressive dog motion and provided key input to make the proposed by-law better for dogs and people. Frequently interviewed by media on all aspects involving animals, she has also published some 35 articles for legal and mainstream periodicals. (Is it time for the rights of animals in Canada? She has been invited to law schools in Asia, U.S. and Europe to lecture on animal law and presents to rescue organizations and at conferences. She formed the Vancouver Animal Law Study Group with colleagues. Shroff is an active community volunteer, has mentored students for over 15 years. She has been honoured with a SEEDS award for her work. On Earth Day Shroff held a pro bono animal law legal clinic. During Covid she assisted media in understanding its impact on animals. Shroff is even featured in an animal law anthem by constitutional law professor Kislowicz. For further info

About the presentation

Bringing Companion Animals (Pets) Into the Conversation on Pet Custody

Abstract: Most people believe that their companion animal is a family member, notwithstanding in law, their pet is rarely elevated above the status of property. Victoria will evaluate how these tensions are rationalized in court when animal and family law issues intersect in a ‘pet custody’ case. Victoria will comment on competing norms of elevating companion animals’ rights to more closely align with those of a child, versus the prevailing ownership model in the context of dissolution of marriage or partnership. Victoria will discuss the role of the court in determining who is awarded the family pet upon family dissolution and review the 2018 Newfoundland Court of Appeal case of Baker v Harmina as a departure point. How does the court resolve complex issues of custody or ownership involving animals? What is the optimum resolution for the parties, including the companion animal in question?

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