NWT Courts
NWT Courts

   Courts - Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories

NWT Courts

Territorial Court, the statutory court of record, is similar to provincial courts in other jurisdictions and has such jurisdiction as expressly provided by federal and territorial legislation.

The judges of the Territorial Court are appointed by the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, in Executive-Council, upon the recommendation of a Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee, which is composed of representatives of the public, the legal profession, and the judiciary. Judges may sit in Yellowknife, where the principal offices of the Court are located, or the appointment may specify some other location where a judge is to reside. The general supervision and direction of the Court is the responsibility of the Chief Judge, who is appointed from among the resident judges for a five-year term.

The current resident judges of the Territorial Court are:
  • The Honourable Chief Judge Christine Gagnon
  • The Honourable Judge Robert D. Gorin
  • The Honourable Judge Garth E. Malakoe

The Territorial Court, as a trial court, hears the majority of criminal cases that come into the court system. It holds preliminary hearings and non-jury trials in communities throughout the Northwest Territories, visiting them regularly on regional circuits. When on circuit, the judges work in conjunction with community justice committees and other community representatives. The Court also has jurisdiction over all summary conviction offences created by federal and territorial statutes (such as environmental offences, motor vehicle and highway safety infractions, and breaches of municipal by-laws). It hears cases involving child protection, custody and support. In addition, it has jurisdiction to hear civil cases where the monetary amount in dispute does not exceed $35,000.

The judges of the Court are assisted from time to time by deputy judges who are appointed by the Commissioner from among current or retired territorial and provincial court judges. In addition, all resident judges of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories are also ex officio judges of the Territorial Court.


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