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​The Nunavut court of justice

Author(s) Clark, Scott
Title The Nunavut court of justice: an example of challenges and alternatives for communities and for the administration of justice
Source Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice; July 2011; Vol 53; issue 3; p343-370
Date 2011
Document type Journal article
Summary This article examines the operation of the Nunavut Court of Justice, which was established in Canada in 1999. In particular the author explores whether one of the goals of the court, to provide an efficient and accessible court structure that responds to the unique needs of Nunavut, is met. Eighty-five per cent of Nunavut residents are Inuit and its proportion of young people is almost twice that for Canada as a whole. One of the challenges has been to serve the 26 communities, most of which are at great distances from each other, and from the three main centres. Lengthy case processing times are a major concern and in some of the isolated communities circuit court may only arrive once a year. Other issues discussed include the shortage of lawyers and justices of the peace, and inadequately trained Inuit court workers. A community-based restorative justice alternative is discussed and it is recognised that in the first instance there needs to be better communication between the government and community and the author recommends that community-based alternatives are developed from within the community with the government support. The author concludes that a community-based alternative is needed that will both complement the court and relieve it of some of its responsibilities.
Keywords Inuit; Indigenous; restorative justice; remote communities; court circuit
Topic Indigenous; criminal justice system