Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Aboriginal Judicial Appointments

Since today, June 21, 2006, is National Aboriginal Day in Canada, I thought I would post about resources dealing with aboriginal legal issues, in particular aboriginal judicial appointments.

The Indigenous Bar Association has been actively advocating for judicial appointments of aboriginal jurists to all levels of Canadian Courts and has commissioned papers, made submissions to Parliamentary Committees, and worked in partnership with other organizations to push for greater aboriginal representation on the bench.

The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) has also been pushing for greater aboriginal representation in the judiciary:
  • Racial Equality in the Canadian Legal Profession (February, 1999): this 113-page report by the CBA examines the history of racism in the legal profession, the process of considering and entering law school along with barriers faced by minority and aboriginal students, the structure of bar admission courses and exams, employment barriers, the influence of the judiciary, particularly judges, on how law is interpreted and applied, and the need for specific action to address the concerns of aboriginal people
  • Federal Judicial Appointment Process (October 2005): "Indigenous law and the common or civil law are 'vastly dissimilar legal cultures,' with Aboriginal law being 'neither English nor aboriginal in origin: it is a form of intersocietal law that evolved from long-standing practices linking the various communities'. The need for reconciliation between the two legal systems is obvious in cases relating to Aboriginal title to lands, rights to hunt or fish, membership, and self-government... It stands to reason that a rich understanding of Indigenous laws derived from experience would be beneficial in making judicial decisions when matters of 'intersocietal law' arise. Thus, the CBA urges the federal government to reflect better the recognition of Indigenous law systems in judicial appointments. Further, particular focus should be given to the appointment of Aboriginal judges to appellate courts".
  • Recognition of Legal Pluralism in Judicial Appointments (resolution at the annual meeting of the CBA in August 2005)
  • Indigenous legal traditions and Canadian legal pluralism (article in Feb. 2006 issue of Touchstones, newsletter of the CBA Standing Committee on Equity)
  • Indigenous Bar Association: Aboriginal appointments to appellate courts (Article in August 2005 issue of Touchstones)

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:10 pm

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