Urban Indigenous Courts: Possibilities for Increasing Community Control Over Justice


  • Gabe Boothroyd JD Candidate, Peter A Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia.




The settler colonial justice system of the Canadian state continues to inflict immense harm on Indigenous people. One response to these harms could be the creation of urban Indigenous courts in line with the Truth and Reconciliation’s call for Indigenous justice systems that are expressions of self-determination. While any initiative that operates within the confines of the mainstream justice system has significant limitations, the practices of existing courts that avoid convictions, apply Indigenous legal principles, and cede genuine control to Indigenous people and communities demonstrate the potential for a meaningful break from the status quo. The creation of an urban court could facilitate a resurgence of Indigenous justice while mitigating the harm caused by the settler colonial justice system.