Mar 11 2023


9:30 am - 4:00 pm

Indigenous People and the Criminal Justice System Seminar

Instructors: Melissa Serbin, Senior Associate at Cochrane Saxberg LLP and Stacey Soldier, Senior Associate at Cochrane Saxberg LLP.

There is a growing recognition in Canada, across all sectors and regions, of the need for a deeper understanding and more meaningful inclusion of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. One of the centrepieces of this recognition was the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, released in 2015, which included 94 calls to action to effect reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Call to Action 27 was directed at the legal community of Canada, calling on us (through the Federation of Law Societies of Canada) to:

Ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

These goals have been acknowledged by the provincial law societies, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and the Canadian Bar Association. As stated by former Chief Justice of British Columbia Lance Finch, lawyers have a “duty to learn”.

The Indigenous People and Criminal Justice System seminar was created in the spirit of these ideas. The seminar will assist students and lawyers in learning about and understanding the interplay between the history of legislation in Canada, Indigenous Peoples, and the current Canadian legal system.

This intensive seminar will follow the general introduction to the complexities and principles of criminal law presented in courses on criminal law and evidence. It emphasizes the ways in which these complexities and principles intersect with Indigenous concepts of justice. The class will engage in a critical analysis of the relationship between Indigenous accused and the Courts through multiple stages of the justice system: arrest, bail, pre-trial procedures, and sentencing. Throughout the course the role of the Crown and defence counsel and the obligations created by these roles will be discussed. Participants will discuss Gladue reports, community justice committees, culturally important ceremonies and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system.

Participants will receive a letter upon completion of this seminar. It is well suited for students considering working in the field of criminal law and for lawyers interested in furthering legal education.

Register for this workshop

Continuing Professional Development for Lawyers: This seminar will qualify for the following Continuing Professional Development hours:

  • Law Society of Manitoba: 12 CPD hours; and 4 Ethics & Professional Responsibility hours
  • Law Society of Alberta: for Alberta lawyers, consider including this course as a CPD learning activity in your mandatory annual Continuing Professional Development Plan as required by the Law Society of Alberta.

The event is finished.

The library will be closed on Monday, May 20th for Victoria Day