The Edmonton Mental Health Court, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary, is designed to deal with matters where there is reason to believe a person’s conflict with the law is due to a problem with mental health. The court is based on a therapeutic model, involving a more collaborative and restorative approach than the ones seen in the more conventional criminal court structure.
Based on a model used in other Canadian jurisdictions, Mental Health Court is a collaborative approach between the justice system and health care professionals to hear cases involving Albertans who may be facing mental health challenges and illnesses.
LAA currently dedicates three in-house Duty Counsel lawyers and three Justice Navigators to Mental Health Court, with one lawyer and one Justice Navigator assigned to each court sitting. On average, 300 files per month are referred to Mental Health Court.
From April 4 to December 3, 2018, there were 3,412 files referred to Mental Health Court, covering 499 unique individuals.