Helping to Develop the Law
From the outset, the firm’s mission has been to assist Aboriginal Peoples to achieve recognition of their title and rights and to develop prosperous, sustainable communities. The firm advanced its clients’ interests through the determination by the Supreme Court of Canada that there is, under the Canadian Constitution, an existing Aboriginal right to fish (R. v. Sparrow, R. v. Van der Peet), and that Aboriginal title is an existing legal right that is not extinguished in British Columbia (Delgamuukw v. British Columbia). In Blueberry River Indian Band v. Canada (Department of Indian Affairs), a Treaty reserve case, the firm made important advances in the law of the Crown’s fiduciary obligations towards Aboriginal peoples.
Later, the firm spearheaded landmark Supreme Court of Canada rulings, such as Haida Nation et al. v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests) et al. (confirming the Crown’s consultation and accommodation obligations), Osoyoos Indian Band v. Oliver (Town) (defining the Crown’s fiduciary obligations in relation to the taking of reserve lands), and R. v. Morris (establishing the Treaty right to night hunting). Mandell Pinder also participated in the Supreme Court of Canada victory in R. v. Sappier; R. v. Gray, the first case to establish the Aboriginal right to harvest timber for community purposes.
Over the years, Mandell Pinder LLP has continued to broaden its services to meet the evolving needs of Aboriginal governments. Creativity, commitment and determination have been required, including, for example: assisting in the development of modern legal frameworks for exercising Aboriginal and Treaty rights; promoting reconciliation through various legal strategies; negotiating accommodations for past and ongoing impacts associated with resource extraction; and developing unique land tenures models to secure economic development on and off reserve.