The Alaska Chief Justice Calls for More Cooperation with Tribal Courts

Feb 15, 2013

Credit Juneau Empire

Last week the first woman to sit on the Alaska Supreme Court called for greater cooperation between the judicial system in Alaska and the growing number of Tribal courts.

Dana Fabe is the Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court and through that position she gave the annual "State of the Judiciary" address on Wednesday to a joint session of the Alaska Legislature. Fabe confirmed that efforts are being made to allow the Alaska Judicial system to work with the increasing number of tribal courts operating in rural Alaska. She said,

"This coming fall I will invite tribal court judges to join our training session on procedural fairness and working effectively with self represented litigants."

According to the 2012 Alaska Tribal Court Directory there are 90 tribal courts in Alaska and Fabe anticipates the directory will help facilitate greater cooperation between the State and the tribal courts. She said,

"As we have learned elsewhere early intervention matters and makes a huge difference in the effectiveness of outcomes. For many isolated villages the simple reality is that often early intervention for tribal members is more likely to come from local tribal courts than from the state courts that are miles away."

During her speech Fabe made the commitment that the state Judicial system will remain an active and engaged partner to better serve rural communities. Dana Fabe is in her 3rd term as the Alaska Chief Justice and Wednesday's speech was her 7th in front of lawmakers in Juneau.