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The overall mission of the ICSC is to provide members of the Native American community and their participating tribes with a cultural sensitive Judicial Forum in which to present and resolve disputes.
The ICSC is an Intertribal Court System, which works on a "circuit court" format whereby a Judge travels from one Reservation to the next presiding over assigned cases. Rulings are based on tribal laws, ordinances, customs and historical precedent. The ICSC provides court administration, court clerks, bailiffs, and case management. Tribal Court hearings are held at their respective Tribes' Reservations.
In addition to providing Tribes and Tribal Members with a full range of court services, the Court also provides a free Lawyer Referral Service, a court sponsored Alternative Dispute Resolution, including Arbitration and Mediation, Federal Indian Law 101, and the Southern California Tribal Bar Association; while simultaneously, establishing a centralized location where federal, state, county, local and tribal governments can collaborate and coordinate legal, judicial, and governmental services for the Southern California people and communities.
The overall purpose of the Intertribal Court of Southern California as it presently exists is focused on the fundamental principle of providing members of participating Tribes with a culturlly sensitive Judicial Forum in which to present and resolve disputes. The ICSC is an Intertribal Court System that works on a "circuit type" basis, where tribal judges travel from one reservation to the next presiding over cases based on specific Tribes' law,s ordinances, customs, and history. The ICSC provides members Tribes and Tribal Members with Judges, Court Administration, Court Clerks, Bailiffs, and case management.
The ISCS is an "independent judiciary" within Indian Country. Its purpose is to preserver the integrity, autonomy and sovereignty, of the Native American communities it serves in a culturally sensitive and traditionally aware environment.
Tribes are in period of rapidly changing political times and economic growth. Tribal Councils are being called upon to do more than ever. While they have essentially served in part as quasi-judicial bodies, growth and pursuit of equality demand they enhance both rights of the People within Indian Country and provide them with an unbiased and independent method of disputes resolutions.
By signing the Intertribal Governing Agreement (IGA) and passing a tribal resolution, Tribes utilize the ICSC system and its related services. Under the IGA, the ICSC is governed by an independently appointed Tribal Judicial Council whose members are appointed by participating Tribes. Each Tribe elects their own Council Member. Judicial Council responsibilities include reviewing budgets, hiring staff, entering into MOAs, and policy review.