Frequently Asked Questions

Phone: 760-751-4142

1. What is the Intertribal Court of Southern California?

We are the Judicial Branch or “Court” for many Tribal

Governments in Southern California. (See Member List)

2. What is the make up of the Court?

The Court is comprised of:  a Chief Judge, Court Clerk, and Bailiff. The Judge(s) are a Judicial Officer with many years of experience in Tribal Laws, Custom and Tradition who hear the civil cases and controversies. There are also several “Judge Pro Tems” or volunteer Judges who all have years of experience in Indian Country law. All of the Judges are members of the State Bar of California.

3. Where is the Court located?

The main Court House is located on The Rincon Band of Luiseno Indian Reservation, 49002 Golsh Road, Valley Center California, in San Diego County. The Court also holds hearings on Tribal Reservation Lands. The Judge will travel a “circuit”, usually once a month, to these member Nations Reservations.

4.  If one of the parties to a case wants to appeal a ruling against them, can they?

Yes, the Intertribal Court has an Appellate Court panel to hear appeals. It consists of three Judges.

5.  What are the Laws for the Tribal Governments?

Each Tribal Government has their own laws that cover their citizens. Some of which are available on this website. They are separate Tribal
Governments from each other, therefore, they have separate laws.

6.  Can you hear criminal cases?

No, we are a court of limited jurisdiction hearing civil cases only at this time.

7.  Who does the Court have jurisdiction over?

All enrolled Tribal members of the Consortium Tribal Government and in some rare cases, non-tribal people. Although some tribes
issue civil citations to non-tribal members and the court hears those cases whether or not they are tribal members.

8.  What does Tribal Court have jurisdiction over, what matters of law?

Tribal Court is a Court of limited jurisdiction. The Courts jurisdiction depends on the Tribal Government codes, laws and rules and to what
extent that government has granted jurisdiction to the Court and it varies from Tribal Government to Tribal Government.

9.  If I receive a citation from the Tribal Police as a Tribal Member, do I have to pay the fine or can I go to court and have my case heard?

You can do either. If you wish to have your case heard by a neutral Tribal Court judge, then you must appear in Court or, you can pay the

10. Does Tribal Court have a “Small Claims Court”?

Yes, but it depends on each Tribal Government agreement with the Court and whether that Government has granted jurisdiction.

11. Does Tribal Court handle membership disputes between the Tribe and individual members?

Generally No. That usually is exclusively handled by the Tribal Government.

12. Does Tribal Court hear land disputes?

It can, depending on whether the Tribe has property codes developed.

13. Does Tribal Court issue Temporary Restraining Orders?
Yes, in both general harassment cases and domestic violence cases. In DV orders, this Court has jurisdiction over non-tribal members.

14. Can I file for Divorce in Tribal Court? 

No, the court does not have jurisdiction in Dissolution of Marriages.

15. If I have a State Court Order for child support can I get it converted to a Tribal Court Order for enforcement on Tribal lands?   

No, we generally do not have jurisdiction in child support matters.

16. Does Tribal Court have jurisdiction in Indian Child Welfare cases?


17. Does Tribal Court offer mediation for Tribal Member disputes?

Yes, in many matters.

18. Can Tribal Court hear cases of “Exclusion”?