The Gladue Principles: A Guide to the Jurisprudence


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Benjamin A. Ralston

ISBN 9780888806383 (softcover)  
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ISBN 9780888806406 (PDF)
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2021 402 p.


Over the past two decades Canadian courts have repeatedly acknowledged that Indigenous individuals and collectives face systemic discrimination throughout the criminal justice system. The system’s disproportionate adverse impacts on Indigenous peoples have also been thoroughly studied and documented for over half a century. Indigenous individuals are over-represented among those charged, convicted, and sentenced to prison, as well as those who are victims of crime. Among other disparities, Indigenous individuals are more likely to be denied parole, spend a disproportionate amount of time in segregation, and are less likely to receive community-based sentences. At the same time, the criminal justice system has often marginalized the legal responses of Indigenous collectives to wrongdoing among their members. 

These systemic issues require systemic responses. On April 23, 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada provided one such response in its decision in R v Gladue, articulating a broad open-ended framework to address this crisis of legitimacy and outcomes in the sentencing of Indigenous persons. The Gladue decision’s main principles have since been extended to various other facets of the criminal justice system. At the direction of the BC First Nations Justice Council, this book synthesizes the hundreds of cases that expand on these principles to provide readily accessible guidance to all those involved in their practical implementation.

Accompanying User Guides

The following user guides have been created as tools to be used in conjunction with The Gladue Principles: A Guide to the Jurisprudence (“The Gladue Principles”). Each guide provides a short summary of relevant considerations specifically for Crown counsel, defence counsel, judges and Gladue report writers.