Lorne Sossin, “Indigenous Self-Government and the Future of Administrative Law ”


A great deal of advocacy, adjudication, and analysis has focused on the Indigenous right to self-government under the Canadian Constitution. This article, by contrast focuses on what happens the day after self-government is achieved, when the focus shifts to implementing rather than achieving self-government. In particular, the author explores the mechanisms of administrative law and justice in the context of self-government. The article considers “aboriginal administrative law” in three contexts. First, the article canvasses structures of administrative justice, such as adjudicative tribunals and regulatory bodies established by self-governing indigenous communities. Second, the article reviews how doctrinal concepts such as “fairness” will be interpreted by indigenous decision-makers in a fashion consistent with indigenous culture and practice. Finally, the article examines notions of accountability for administrative decisions within indigenous government and public law. The article concludes that both the project of Canadian administrative law and the project of indigenous self-government will be enhanced by a new focus on the relationship between the two.

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