Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals (SWITCA)

AILC’s Southwest Intertribal Court of Appeals (SWITCA) Program provides an appellate court forum for tribes located in New Mexico, Arizona, southern Colorado, and west Texas. Since its inception in 1989, SWITCA has allowed tribal courts to bring cases before a panel of experienced judges to render decisions at the appellate level for those tribes that do not have the financial means or governmental infrastructure to administer a court of appeals for tribal court decisions. Funding for the administration of SWITCA is provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Who is eligible to join?

Federally recognized Tribes and Pueblos in New Mexico, Arizona, southern Colorado, and west Texas may join the SWITCA to receive impartial appellate review of lower court decisions. SWITCA’s jurisdiction is defined by the participating Pueblo and tribal governments. A Tribe may join SWITCA by tribal resolution. Each Tribe defines SWITCA’s authority for itself and may create any one of a variety of uses for the Court including:

  • an independent court of last resort which exercises the appellate powers of the tribe;
  • an independent appellate court which issues advisory opinions, only; or,
  • an independent intermediate appellate court from which any party may appeal to a higher court as defined by the joining tribe.

See sample tribal resolution available online or call our offices for an electronic copy.

How much does it cost?
Appellate services are available without cost to federally recognized Tribes and Pueblos in New Mexico, Arizona, southern Colorado, and west Texas that join SWITCA by tribal resolution.
What services are provided?

SWITCA provides an appellate court forum.

SWITCA offers trainings, whenever possible, to tribal court judges and tribal court staff, who are
located within New Mexico, Arizona, southern Colorado, and west Texas (SWITCA region).

Other services include technical assistance, legal research, and support services to tribal courts,
tribal judges, and tribal court staff, who are within the SWITCA region.