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Aboriginal Law

Counsel from Hunter Litigation Chambers have been in the forefront of the development of a body of Aboriginal law in British Columbia, representing industry and government in responding to claims of Aboriginal rights and title.

In the 2010 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, John Hunter is identified as one of the “most frequently recommended” practitioners in this area – the only counsel so identified who acts for industry and government.

Some of the leading Aboriginal law cases in which counsel from the firm have acted include the following:

Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada (Attorney General) 2009 BCSC 1494: Our lawyers represented the Province of British Columbia in a lengthy trial to assess an Aboriginal claim to commercial fishing rights and title in the waters off Vancouver Island.

R. v. Marshall; R. v. Bernard, 2005 SCC 43, [2005] 2 S.C.R. 220: John Hunter was retained by the Attorney General of British Columbia to present the argument of the Province of British Columbia in the Supreme Court of Canada in this leading case on the scope of Aboriginal title.

Musqueam Indian Band v. City of Richmond2005 BCSC 1069: We represented the B.C. Lottery Corporation in a judicial review proceeding to determine whether the relocation of a casino triggered the obligation to consult the Musqueam Nation.

Haida Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests) and Weyerhaeuser Co. Ltd., 2004 SCC 73, [2004] 3 S.C.R. 511: John Hunter, Q.C. acted as counsel for Weyerhaeuser in this seminal judgment that decided that the Crown has an obligation to consult and accommodate First Nations' interests before making a decision that might interfere with those interests, but the licensees do not.

Soowahlie Band v. Canada (Attorney General) (2001), 200 F.T.R. 21 (F.T.D.): Our counsel acted for the Attorney General of Canada in successfully opposing an application to enjoin Canada from transferring land claimed by the Sto:lo Nation to third parties.

In addition to his counsel work, Mr. Hunter has written extensively in the area of Aboriginal Law, including several conference papers on the scope of the obligation to consult and accommodate, a paper on the use of injunctions in Aboriginal rights cases that was cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in its Haida judgment and a chapter in a recent text in which he assesses the legacy of the Delgamuukw decision.