Nunavut judge tired of leaky, drafty courtrooms

A senior judge in Nunavut says there should be a limit to what court staff and the public must endure when court is held in small communities.

Court dates could be cancelled in small communities

Not all communities have a dedicated court building like this one in Iqaluit. (CBC)

A senior judge in Nunavut says there should be a limit to what court staff and the public must endure when court is held in small communities.

Judge Robert Kilpatrick says he's not asking for luxuries. He says courtrooms should be warmer than 16 C, have running water and toilets, telephone service and working fire alarms.

The complaints do not apply to Iqaluit, but instead to smaller communities which do not have courtrooms.

When the territorial justice system travels across Nunavut, court is often held in community halls, hotels and school gymnasiums.

The Nunavut Court of Justice has announced it will begin to inspect these facilities starting in 2014 and might cancel court circuits if they don't meet a minimum standard. 

Andre Larabie, the senior administrative officer in Sanikiluaq, says he doesn’t expect the community’s facilities will change.

"We cannot comply with the deadline they're giving us. Our building will not be made available for the court," he said.

While Nunavut’s court pays $300 a day to use the hall, Larabie says that is not enough to deal with the ongoing issues.

"Our facility is old, bathrooms are a serious problem here with freezing up every winter. We don't have it in this year's budget whatsoever," he said.

Kilpatrick says the directives are a measure to keep court staff and the public safe.