It's a tough job but somebody has to do it

If you’re a lawyer or judge who has Aboriginal law experience and looking for new challenges, this may be the job for  you.

After five years on the job, Daniel Ish, chief adjudicator of the Indian Residential Schools Adjudications Secretariat, is stepping down and a search has begun for his replacement.

A request for proposals was issued April 29 seeking individuals interested in applying for the chief adjudicator job that oversees the Independent Assessment Process, which makes decisions on individual claims of abuse related to the Indian residential schools system.

The chief adjudicator directs the work of the Indian Residential Schools Adjudications Secretariat, the administrative body that manages the IAP hearing process.

The chief adjudicator position became vacant earlier this year when Ish, announced he would step down once a replacement is found.

“We are very fortunate to have had someone as dedicated as Daniel to guide the IAP through its first five years,” says University of Toronto law dean Mayo Moran, chairwoman of the oversight committee that monitors the implementation of the IAP. “I have been struck by his deep commitment to protecting the integrity of the IAP so that former students receive a fair hearing in a safe and caring environment.”

There are over 100 adjudicators who hear the individual claims for abuse arising out of the Indian residential schools and the chief adjudicator oversees the independent assessment process. The total number of applications the secretariat received was 37,716, and it has resolved over half of them, with 17,303 (full stats available here) awaiting resolution.

Moran says the job requires “a complex mix of legal and adjudicative experience and good judgment.”

Occasionally the chief adjudicator also writes some decisions on review cases.

“There are also political and diplomatic skills required,” says Moran. “We were incredibly lucky — Dan Ish is absolutely wonderful and we’re all feeling a bit bereft that we’re losing him because it was wonderful to have someone with such a great mix of human skills and professional qualities during this really important first six years.”

The selection of a new chief adjudicator will be managed by the IAP oversight committee, which includes representatives of former Aboriginal students and their counsel, churches, and the federal government.

A selection committee will review applications, conduct interviews, and make a recommendation. The committee’s selection must be approved by the Supervising Courts of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

Applicants for the position must have a law degree with at least 15 years at the bar, experience as a member of the judiciary or in the adjudication of claims, and have significant knowledge of Canadian Aboriginal people and their history, culture and current issues. The mandatory and rated requirements for the position are outlined on MERX. The deadline is May 24.

The new chief adjudicator is expected to be in place by early this summer.

Update 3:45 pm: Clarify number of cases before and resolved by the secretariat.

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