An Overview of Specialized Courts & Restorative Justice at Provincial Court in Edmonton.

AuthorHayden, Crystal
PositionEdmonton Indigenous Court, Edmonton Mental Health Court and Edmonton Drug Treatment Cour in Alberta


Reading Time: 3 minutes

Edmonton's Indigenous Court, Mental Health Court and Drug Treatment Court use restorative justice principles in sentencing a person convicted of a criminal offence.

The Edmonton Indigenous Court, Edmonton Mental Health Court and Edmonton Drug Treatment Court are three specialized courts in the Provincial Court of Alberta. They use restorative justice as an approach to sentencing a person convicted of a criminal offence.

These specialized courts respond to crime in a holistic way by looking at and dealing with all the factors that led to the person committing the crime. The specialized courts understand the "traditional adversarial process is not necessarily the most appropriate for every process or for every population". Unlike regular criminal court, they are therapeutic in their approach by going beyond punishment and including individualized and monitored corrective treatment. Before a criminal matter can be heard in one of these courts, the accused must take responsibility for their actions and agree to actively participate in their corrective healing journey.

Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is an alternative and holistic approach to the traditional sentencing of crimes. It addresses the underlying issues and circumstances that often play a part in the criminal offences. Restorative justice not only corrects the harm done but aims to prevent future harm by addressing underlying issues that can lead to repeat offences. Many laws and government policies allow for restorative justice, including the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

Restorative justice involves everyone affected by the offence. It aims to repair harm "by providing an opportunity for those harmed and those who take responsibility for the harm to communicate about and address their needs in the aftermath of a crime."

The Edmonton Indigenous Court

The Edmonton Indigenous Court (EIC) is held on Thursdays at 9:00 a.m. in courtroom 358. EIC uses Indigenous restorative justice principles and provides "a culturally relevant, restorative, and holistic system of justice for Indigenous individuals, including offenders, victims and the community harmed by an offender's actions." It "addresses the unique challenges and circumstances of the Indigenous People."

Anyone who identifies as Indigenous can ask to have their...

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