Guide unveiled to help the legal profession work with Indigenous Peoples

May 22, 2018 – A new guide for lawyers working with Indigenous People was unveiled at a special event at Osgoode Hall in Toronto on May 22. The Guide for Lawyers Working with Indigenous People aims to provide a deeper understanding and a more meaningful inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in the legal process.

Developed by The Advocates’ Society, the Indigenous Bar Association and the Law Society of Ontario, the guide was produced in response to the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada, released in 2015. The TRC report included 94 calls to action. Specifically, call 27 was directed at the legal community, calling on it to:

Ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People, 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.

“We want to thank all those involved in the Guide’s development and review,” said Scott Robertson, President of the Indigenous Bar Association. “The consultations undertaken on the guide with a broad cross-section of members of the bar, bench, academia, community workers and Elders, helped immensely in putting together what we hope will be a useful resource.”

The goal of the guide is to provide a better understanding of the histories, cultures, laws, including spiritual laws, and legal orders of Indigenous Peoples. The guide also provides practical tools to help lawyers represent Indigenous clients as effectively as possible, and resources for lawyers to continue their education and improve their services to clients and others.

Read more in the May 22 announcement.