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Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ)

CIAJ Annual Conference


The theme of Justice and Mental Health will be discussed by panelists who will attempt to bridge the gap between the Justice and Healthcare systems; what is the interrelation between vulnerable groups and mental illness as it plays out in the courts (civil and criminal) and administrative tribunals? Speakers from various disciplines, including lawyers, judges, psychologists, psychiatrists, correctional professionals and social workers, will approach issues in an inclusive manner that incorporates the diverse perspectives of the various populations and advocates concerned. Among others, we will view the two systems through the lens of a medical context, a social context, a correctional view and a rehabilitation-centred view. We will also hear stories from individuals that have passed through the criminal and healthcare spheres, and have come out the other side with a unique perspective on the systems at play. The conference will conclude with a student panel entitled Law and Happiness, where we will explore how mental health issues affect law students and lawyers. What resources are available to manage the mental health of those who operate within the legal profession? It has been said that courts are the emergency rooms for unaddressed mental health issues. This conference will assess the tools available to the justice system to manage such issues when they arise with respect to litigants, witnesses and the accused.


The seminar is designed to address the way in which Canada’s justice system interacts with mental health at different levels. It will present a multidisciplinary analysis of the challenges faced by the intersection of mental illness and the law, while also exploring systemic issues, difficulties in the courtroom, philosophical considerations and necessary future improvements.


The program is separated into ten parts:
1. Struggle, Recovery and Hope: A Series of Portraits
2. The Intersection of Legal and Clinical Pathways
3. Stigmatization and Social Exclusion
4. Cultural Diversity: Bias in Forensic Risk Assessment
5. Reaffirming the Role of Rehabilitation in the Justice System
6. Administrative Justice and Mental Health: Promises, Perils and Possibilities
7. How does Civil Justice Take Charge of Those Suffering from Mental Health Problems?
8. Courts and the Healthcare System: Institutional Confinement and Coercive Care
9. Mental Health, Criminal Law and Sentence Enforcement: An Overview
10. Coming together to Better Respond to People Experiencing Mental Health


Oct 17th -
Oct 19th 2018

Number of Participants