Variety Of Tribal Courts

There is a wide variety in the structures and procedures of tribal courts in Alaska ranging from courts that use single judges, to panels of judges, justice circles and even to more traditional dispute resolution structures. Most tribal courts in Alaska use a panel of judges of some form, which may or may not include tribal council members. Judges may either appointed or elected and are generally volunteers, although a meeting stipend is sometimes provided.

The tribal court clerk is usually a tribal staff person such as an Indian Child Welfare Act or Tribal Family Youth Specialist worker who assumes the duties of the tribal court clerk. Whatever structure the tribe uses for its tribal court, it should be written in the tribe’s written laws such as a judicial code. The tribal court clerk must be very familiar with any written laws regarding the structures and procedures regarding the tribal court. (See sample judicial code).