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The Underrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples on Canadian Jury Panels

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Under common law, Canadian jury panels, or arrays, are supposed to be broadly representative. In the early 1980s, the Law Reform Commission and, in the early 1990s, the Supreme Court claimed that provincial legislation virtually guaranteed that this was the case. However, evidence presented to various provincial and federal commissions and a series of court cases has pointed to the continuing underrepresentation of Indigenous Canadians resulting from both the content and the administration of provincial laws. In this article, I examine evidence of underrepresentation and review various political and legal attempts to challenge bias in out-of-court selection. I suggest that contemporary practices in some jurisdictions have not consistently provided a representative jury pool or panel. As a result, the jury selection process has not always appeared to offer justice to Indigenous people and, in doing so, may not have served the Canadian legal system well.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9930.00139

Affiliations: School of Law, Flinders University

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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