Pragmatic measures must be implemented to address problems plaguing Nunavik’s justice system: report

A series of wide-ranging concrete administrative and structural reforms, coupled with a new regional or municipal court, legal aid for all Inuit, and greater inclusion for traditional Inuit dispute resolution methods, should be implemented by the Quebec government and legal authorities to provide greater access to justice and tackle the alarming and increasing caseload in Nunavik, according to a recently published report.

“It is of primary importance to recognize that the system, as it currently exists, has failed in many respects,” said the report, which was mandated by the Quebec Ministry of Justice and the Makivik Corporation, the Inuit’s legal representative under the terms of the 1978 James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. “Reoffending rates have not declined, the Inuit have not been included, and bridges with traditional dispute resolution methods have not been used.”

The report, the latest in a long series of reports that has examined the justice system in the northern reaches of Quebec, issued 60 sweeping recommendations to tackle systemic delays occurring at the circuit court, “optimize” pre-trial hearings, and foster and promote active community involvement in dispute resolution.

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This story was originally published in The Lawyer’s Daily.

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