The Nunavut Court of Justice - Formative Evaluation

1. Introduction

1. Introduction

1.1. Evaluation Context

1.1.1. Purpose and Scope of the Evaluation

As part of the establishment of the Government of Nunavut, the evaluation of the unified Nunavut Court of Justice (NJC) is a Treasury Board commitment. A formative evaluation, to be a joint federal/territorial evaluation of the Nunavut court system, began in 2004/05.

There are two major objectives for the evaluation:

The evaluation provides information and analysis on the implementation of the NCJ, the results of that implementation, and possible ways to improve effectiveness. The evaluation does not assess the judicial decisions of the Court.

Two overall themes were addressed in the evaluation. The first could be called process issues. Generally, these issues concern the operations of the Court with respect to such matters as changes in case-processing time. The second type concerns innovation issues. These issues are linked to the "broader picture" of justice in Nunavut – the aspects of Nunavut justice that enable the formal system to work together with the more informal, community-based system. The two systems are not separable, and personnel working within both see that the success of one will depend, in part, on the flexibility and effectiveness of the other. Both process issues and innovation issues reflect the ideals espoused at the creation of Nunavut and the NCJ.

1.1.2. Intended Audience

The evaluation provides insights that should assist both in its day-to-day operations, as well as in its broader aims of providing accessible, culturally relevant justice to all communities and residents in Nunavut. In this sense, the Nunavut Court of Justice and the Nunavut Department of Justice will find the evaluation results useful. The Government of Canada will be informed by the evaluation in view of its responsibility for the Nunavut Court of Justice as a federally mandated Court. Finally, other Canadian jurisdictions may view the findings with interest insofar as they address the operation and effectiveness of the country's only unified Court, as well as ways to provide accessible justice in remote Aboriginal communities.

1.2. Evaluation Issues and Questions

The following key evaluation issues were included in the terms of reference and guided the study: