3. Get your matter heard in Gladue Court

Where available, you can ask to have your matter heard in Gladue Court whether you’re in or out of custody.

Remember, even if a court isn’t called a Gladue Court, every court must apply the Gladue principles.

Gladue principles require all courts to take into account an Indigenous accused’s background and the impact of discrimination on them.  

At sentencing hearings, all alternatives to jail must be considered before a jail is given. Jail is a last resort. And when a jail sentence is given, the court must apply Gladue principles when deciding the length of the sentence.  

And in Ontario, at hearings, all types of releases must be considered. Detention, or holding an accused without bail, is a last resort.

So if you identify as Indigenous, it’s important to tell your lawyer or . With your permission, your lawyer will tell the court about your Indigenous identity. Your background information is sometimes called Gladue factors. Your lawyer must also make arguments, called Gladue submissions, based on how the Gladue principles apply to your case.

Sharing information about your personal background might make you feel uncomfortable. But sharing this information can help the court to better understand your circumstances and the challenges you have faced. You can tell your lawyer what you’re comfortable sharing.

In custody

If you’re in custody and you wish to have your or sentencing heard in Gladue Court, ask your lawyer or duty counsel if there is a Gladue Court. If there is one, ask what day or days of the week the Gladue Court is available.

Out of custody

If you’re out of custody, speak to your lawyer or duty counsel about your case before your next court date. They can tell you about the services available in your area, and whether there is a Gladue Court. If there is a Gladue Court, your lawyer or duty counsel can help you get your next court date in Gladue Court, depending on what you would like to do with your case.

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