Indigenous Court Worker Program of Manitoba

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What is a Court Worker?

Court Workers help people who are in conflict with the law. They also work in courts to explain what happens there, and to help the judge and Crown attorney understand the situation of the person on trial.

Why do we have Court Workers?

Court workers help Indigenous people understand what happens when they have been arrested or come before a court. They help you understand your rights and what you have to do.

Who may ask for help from a Court Worker?

The court worker program was started to help Indigenous people who come before a court.

When should you ask for help?

The best time is as soon as you have been arrested or summoned to come to court.

How do I find a Court Worker?

Before court begins, court workers read the list of cases that will be heard that day. They look for cases where Indigenous people will appear. The court worker in your court will attempt to seek you out and ask you if you need help, or you may phone your nearest court worker.

What does a Court Worker do?

Attending court to help people is the main thing court workers do. They can do this in a number of ways.

If your first language is of an Indigenous origin, the court worker will tell you what is going on and what is being said. This will help you understand what the court is doing and also helps the court in dealing with your case.

The court worker will explain the charges against you and why you are in court. He or she will tell you what rights you have under the law – for instance, how to get out on bail. The court worker can tell you where the right courtroom is and help you find resources.

What if I think I broke the law and I need a lawyer? Can the Court Worker help me?

Yes, the court worker cannot give you legal advice, but he or she can:

  • give you useful information or refer you to a lawyer or to Legal Aid
  • make sure that you understand the situation and how you may have to deal with your problems
  • help you if you need a lawyer by helping you fill out papers and sending them to the right people

Can the Court Worker go to court in my place?

The court worker will explain to you how important it is for you to attend, and will rarely go in your place. If you have no lawyer and a convincing reason why you cannot attend, the court worker may be able to attend for you. The court worker will need to explain to the court why you can't be there.

What else does the Court Worker do in Court?

He or she will help others in the courtroom. The judge and Crown attorney may ask you, through the court worker, questions about your case. The court worker also helps the court understand you and your circumstances.

I’m pleading guilty, but I am too scared to talk or say anything. Can the Court Worker tell them what happened and why?

Yes. The court worker can ensure that the judge and Crown attorney know your situation  and what has happened since the offence took place.

I don’t understand the order the court gave to me. And what do these papers mean?

The court worker will help you to understand what the sentence or court order means, and what you have to do.

There are a lot of laws and rules I don’t understand. Can the Court Worker help me?

Yes. Many Indigenous people ask court workers to explain rules and laws they do not understand about criminal laws, child welfare, fish and game bonds, laws in the city and many other subjects.

A court worker will gladly come to your First Nation or community to give a workshop about the courts. He or she can also bring other people to help explain things that concern you.

How Can I Access an Indigenous Court Worker

Indigenous Court Worker General Line: (204) 945-6204