The Yurok Tribal Court has been developed as an effective tribal justice system encompassing both traditional principles as well as contemporary jurisprudence for the Yurok People. The Court was originally established in 1974, by the U.S. Federal government, in response to requests from various agencies and enactment of the Magnuson Act by Congress. The Court was set up as a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Court on the Hoopa Indian Reservation to regulate Indian fishing on the Trinity and Klamath Rivers.
In 1978, the Bureau of Indian Affairs established another Branch of this court in Klamath, California to regulate Indian Fishing on the Klamath River. The Court originally reviewed fishing cases forwarded from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) law enforcement officers monitoring Indian fishing activity on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers.
The CFR Court operated under CFR 25 Part 11, was limited to special fishing offenses and BIA auspices until the year 1993. The Yurok Tribe after formal organization under the Yurok Constitution took over the CFR contract for the Court and the disposition of fishing cases.
The Yurok Tribal Court was still under the jurisdiction of CFR 25 Part 11 until the adoption of the Yurok Tribe Judicial Branch Ordinance in 1996 and the institution of the Tribe Fishing Ordinance in 1996. At that time, measures were taken to cease operation of the Court under CFR 25 and transfer jurisdiction to the Tribe under its Constitution and ordinances.