Our focus areas include negotiations, individual representation and legal counsel to bands and Indigenous governments.
After the Haida case in 2005, industry changed the way it does business with Indigenous because the respective governments were made to consult and accommodate before advancing their project. This includes initiatives such as timber harvesting, utility easements, pipelines, or any other potential disturbance to Indigenous territory.
We have acted for both Indigenous and Industry in these negotiations that have resulted in community benefit agreements, tax regimes, by-law implementation and policy development.
Indigenous individuals will most often request our support when dealing with on-reserve estates, Certificate of Possession leasing or transferring, and on-reserve business development.
Wills and estate law on-reserve is governed under the Indian Act but disputes are generally resolved in the BC Supreme Court. Many Indigenous band members do not have valid wills which makes the administration more challenging for those left behind. We have also experienced a considerable amount of traditional law that interplays with estate administration which is unique to each community.
Only members of the band where land is located can hold a registered interest in that land. But what happens when an estate has beneficiaries that are not band members? This is a common occurrence and a situation we know well.
Legal Counsel to Bands and Indigenous Governments
S.35 (1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 reads: the existing Indigenous and treaty rights of the Indigenous people in Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.
We are pleased to be working in the area of Indigenous law and primarily work with Indigenous governments, Metis organizations and individuals who identify themselves as Indigenous.