Chair

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

Julie Blackhawk, General Counsel, Department of Justice Canada, Ottawa, ON. Julie Blackhawk joined the Department of Justice in the Vancouver Regional Office with the Aboriginal Litigation Group in 2000. Since then, she has worked on a range of s.35 Aboriginal rights and title issues for the Department. Julie is currently General Counsel in the Aboriginal Law Centre, in Ottawa, supporting litigation the Department is engaged in on s.35 issues. Julie is Haudenosaunee, originally from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. She is a member of the Bear Clan. She also has strong connections to the Anishinabe, Lac Seul First Nation, through her spouse and their two daughters.

   

Kate Gunn, Lawyer, First Peoples Law Corporation, Vancouver, BC. Kate works on behalf of Indigenous peoples across Canada on issues related to Aboriginal, environmental and constitutional law. Kate is an experienced litigator who has represented clients at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

   

Dr. Bruce McIvor, Lawyer and Historian, Principal, First Peoples Law Corporation, Vancouver, BC. Dr. Bruce McIvor is principal of First Peoples Law Corporation, a law firm dedicated to defending and advancing Aboriginal title, Aboriginal rights and Treaty rights. His work includes both litigation and negotiation on behalf of Indigenous Peoples across Canada. Bruce is dedicated to public education. He recently published the third edition of his collection of essays entitled First Peoples Law: Essays in Canadian Law and Decolonization. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law where he teaches the constitutional law of Aboriginal and Treaty rights. Bruce is a proud Métis from the Red River in Manitoba. He holds a law degree, a Ph.D. in Aboriginal and environmental history and is a Fulbright Scholar. Bruce, a member of the bar in British Columbia and Ontario, is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading practitioner of Aboriginal law in Canada.

   

Kate Phipps, Associate, Arvay Finlay LLP, Vancouver, BC. Kate Phipps is a litigator with particular expertise in administrative law. Kate regularly advises tribunals and government agencies on complex proceedings, policy development and regulatory compliance. Kate also advises societies on governance matters, with a specific focus on post-secondary student societies. Her litigation practice focuses on public law matters including administrative law and judicial review, privacy, aboriginal and constitutional law, labour, employment and human rights. Kate has appeared and assisted senior counsel before all levels of court in British Columbia as well as the Supreme Court of Canada. She has also advocated for clients before a range of administrative tribunals including the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Human Rights Tribunal.

   

Crystal Reeves, Associate, Mandell Pinder LLP, Vancouver, BC. Crystal’s work includes advocacy, negotiations, research, and strategic advice with respect to aboriginal rights and governance, participation in environmental assessments, consultation and accommodation, Indigenous laws and governance and child protection matters. She has been involved in litigation involving Aboriginal rights, child protection and family law matters, commercial litigation, and employment matters on behalf of First Nation clients, as well as involved in regulatory hearings regarding major resource projects. Crystal was also co-counsel to a coalition of First Nations and Aboriginal fisheries organizations that participated in the Cohen Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River.

   
 

Glen Thompson, Barrister, Indigenous Legal Relations, Natural Resources, Transportation and Indigenous Legal Group, Ministry of Attorney General, Victoria, BC.

   

Jack Woodward, Q.C., Lawyer, Campbell River, BC. Jack Woodward is a practising lawyer specializing in Indigenous law. Formerly with Rosenberg, Rosenberg & Woodward in Vancouver, and then with Woodward & Company in Victoria, he now heads a small litigation firm in Campbell River. His cases of note include Meares Island, 1985 CanLII 154 (BCCA), Tsilhqot’in, 2007 BCSC 1700, Fort McKay First Nation v Prosper Petroleum Ltd, 2020 ABCA 163. He is the author of Native Law, the leading reference text, which he updates 6 times annually.