Modern court, traditional design – Ottawa Citizen

by NationTalk on January 23, 2012620 Views

Modern court, traditional design

The cyclical process of traditional aboriginal justice is represented in the design of the Specific Claims Tribunal hearing room. But that doesn’t sit well with some of the judges who will be working there, writes Maria Cook

By Maria Cook., Ottawa Citizen January 23, 2012

As courtrooms go, the hearing room of the Specific Claims Tribunal in Ottawa is unusual. For one thing, people sit in a circle and there is no judge’s dais.

The tribunal was established in 2008 to deal with long-standing treaty disputes between First Nations people and the federal government. Hearings are expected to start this spring.

“Justice must be done but it must also be seen to be done,” says Wayne Garnons-Williams, the tribunal’s former deputy head and registrar. He notes that the history of treaty negotiations is characterized by “broken promises, false starts and mistrust.”

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