Co-Chairs

Rosanne Kyle, Partner, Mandell Pinder LLP, Vancouver, BC. Ms. Kyle has practised Aboriginal law for almost 30 years. Her practice focuses on litigation, regulatory processes for resource development projects, consultation issues, and negotiations. She has appeared as litigation counsel in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario courts, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada. She has also been counsel to First Nations before regulatory bodies such as the National Energy Board and environmental assessment panels. For the last several years, she has been recognized as one of the leading lawyers in the Aboriginal law field in the Canadian Lexpert Directory, and is also listed in Best Lawyers in Canada.

   

Mark Underhill, Partner, Arvay Finlay LLP, Vancouver, BC. Mark maintains a broad general civil litigation practice, with particular expertise in Aboriginal, administrative, and environmental law. He has appeared at all levels of Court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, where he most recently acted in R v Desautel. He acts regularly for a number of independent administrative tribunals and officers of the legislature. Mark has been selected by his peers to be included in Best Lawyers in Canada in the areas of Aboriginal, administrative and public, and environmental law, and has been L’expert rated in the areas of environmental and Aboriginal law.

   

Faculty

Jamie Arbeau, Associate, Ratcliff & Company LLP, North Vancouver, BC. Jamie is an associate with Ratcliff & Company LLP. Jamie primarily works in Ratcliff’s litigation group. He has provided support on a wide range of files that have come before courts in British Columbia, the Federal Courts, and administrative tribunals such as the National Energy Board and the Specific Claims Tribunal.

   

Angela Bespflug, Associate Counsel, Murphy Battista LLP, Vancouver, BC. Angela is a class action lawyer with extensive experience representing the interests of class members in large-scale, national class actions. She has acted as class counsel in a number of high profile class actions, with combined settlement values totalling over $800 million, and has been recognized by the Federal Court of Canada as “a leading practitioner in this field.” She has been class counsel in several class actions focused on Indigenous rights, including the Sixties Scoop class action, the Indigenous Boarding Homes class action and the Indigenous Hospitals class action. She was also counsel on motion for Gowling WLG at their fee approval hearing in the Indigenous Day Schools class action litigation, where they were awarded a $55 million fee.

   

Jennifer Chow, Q.C.,  Senior Counsel, Department of Justice Canada, Vancouver, BC. As Senior Counsel at the Department of Justice in Vancouver, Jennifer Chow brings almost two decades of experience at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. She is a civil litigator who practices in the areas of Crown law, constitutional and administrative law, commercial law and Aboriginal law.

   

Dr. Roshan Danesh, Q.C., Lawyer, Victoria, BC. Roshan is a lawyer, conflict resolution innovator, and educator whose areas of work, teaching, and writing include international peace-building, constitutional law, Indigenous rights, and inter-ethnic and interreligious dialogue. Roshan completed his S.J.D at Harvard Law School and LL.B at the University of Victoria, and has taught at a number of universities around the world. Roshan has served as legal counsel to the UBCIC, BCAFN, and First Nations across the country, as special counsel on Indigenous reconciliation to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and as an advisor on implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to political and executive leadership in the Government of British Columbia.

   

Prothonotary Kathleen Ring,  Federal Court of Canada, Ottawa, ON. Prothonotary Kathleen Ring was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. At the time of her appointment to the Federal Court, she was General Counsel with the Department of Justice in Vancouver, where she practised primarily in the areas of Aboriginal law and class actions. She served as the Departmental representative on the Federal Court’s Indigenous Bar Liaison Committee from its inception in 2005 until 2013, and was involved in the development of the Federal Court’s Aboriginal Litigation Practice Guidelines. She was also the co-chair of the Department’s Federal Courts Practice Group in Vancouver. She was a frequent presenter at legal conferences and in-service training events, and was the author of the chapter “The Crown as a Fiduciary” in the loose-leaf publication, Government Liability: Law and Practice. She was appointed a Prothonotary of the Federal Court on December 19, 2017.

   

Kris Statnyk, Associate, Mandell Pinder LLP, Vancouver, BC. In his practice, Kris provides strategic advice, negotiation support and advocacy over a broad range of areas including land and resource management, development assessment, regulatory process, modern treaty and self-government implementation, law and policy development, fiscal relations and government-to-government relations. Kris is Gwich’in from the Vuntut Gwitchin community in Old Crow, Yukon. Kris’ wife Shawna and their children Armayah and Jackson are Gitxsan and belong to the Lax Skiik (Eagle Clan) Wilp (House) of Sakuum Higookw. Kris is called to the bars of BC (2014) and the Yukon (2016), and is a board member of West Coast Environmental Law and Yellowhead Institute.

   

Erin Thomson-Leach, Associate, JFK Law, Victoria, BC. Erin practices Aboriginal and administrative law in JFK’s Victoria office with a focus on Treaty negotiations and Crown consultation. Erin assists clients involved in Treaty negotiations in the BC Treaty Process. She also advises First Nations involved in Crown consultation and negotiations with industry, and provides advice regarding band governance issues, the application of the Indian Act and many other matters. Erin has developed broad experience working on a variety of issues including resource development, fisheries, forestry, land use planning on and off-reserve, environmental assessments and regulatory hearings.

   

Jack Woodward, Q.C., Lawyer, Campbell River, BC. Jack Woodward is a practising lawyer specializing in Indigenous law. With a law firm in Campbell River, Jack is a longtime advocate for First Nations, Métis and Inuit people of Canada, and has been on the forefront of Canada’s relationship with Aboriginal communities for decades. The designation “Q.C.” comes from his appointment as Queen’s Counsel in 2011 for his dedicated work in his field. Jack specializes in Aboriginal rights and title work and prepared the first draft of what would eventually become section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.