Jul. 29, 2021
Webinar Repeat Online

Veuillez notez, cet événement sera disponible en anglais seulement.

Air Date: This is the archived version of a program presented on July 29, 2021.

Shelly Boyd, Sinixt Elder
Mark Underhill, Arvay Finlay LLP
Kate Phipps, Arvay Finlay LLP
Moderated by Raji Mangat, Executive Director, West Coast LEAF

Format: Webinar Recording
CPD Hours: 1.5 Hours of Approved Continuing Professional Development in BC.
Viewing of this recording will provide you with 1.5 hours of the ethics, professional responsibility and practice management component for your Law Society of BC reporting.

As lawyers, we may not think of our work as storytelling, but deeply embedded in the role of the lawyer and in the litigation process is a call to tell the stories that matter to our clients. Lawyers translate their clients’ truths and experiences to make meaning through the law, and in turn, the law becomes a part of, or reshapes those stories, with a potential to transform community identity and futures. Nowhere is this more evident than in the adjudication of Indigenous rights and title.

For 65 years, since 1956, the federal and provincial governments have claimed that the Sinixt, an Indigenous First Nation from BC’s West Kootenay region, are “extinct.” The Sinixt have been fighting for decades for legal recognition of their rights and identity, and in 2010, Rick Desautel began his journey through the Canadian court system after engaging in a ceremonial elk hunt. Earlier this year, on April 23, 2021, a 7:2 majority of the Supreme Court of Canada found that the Sinixt are an Aboriginal Peoples of Canada with constitutionally protected rights in their ancestral territory in BC.

Counsel for Richard Desautel, Mark Underhill and Kate Phipps (Arvay Finlay LLP),  joined by Shelly Boyd, a Sinixt Elder. lead a discussion about R v Desautel and the role of litigation in revitalizing Sinixt identity and community.



Shelly Boyd, Sinixt Elder
Shelly is the founder of the Inchelium Language and Culture Association and the Inchelium Language House. Shelly's BA is from Eastern Washington University, where she studied communications and Indian Studies. Shelly also holds a Masters degree from Gonzaga University in Education. Shelly spent nearly 20 years working with the Inchelium School District on the Colville Reservation and The Medicine Wheel Academy of Spokane, working with Native youth. 

Mark Underhill, Arvay Finlay LLP
Mark G. Underhill is a 1995 graduate of the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, and was called to the Bar of the Law Society of British Columbia in 1996. He practised with Arvay Finlay for ten years before establishing his own firm in 2005. In 2017, Mark reconstituted Arvay Finlay with Joseph J. Arvay O.C., O.B.C.,Q.C., and other former members of the firm.

Mark maintains a broad general civil litigation practice, with particular expertise in aboriginal, administrative and environmental law, including multi-party disputes involving property remediation and liability for contamination.  In addition to his expertise in public law, Mark has acted in a number of class action suits, including claims involving tainted blood, misleading advertising, employment benefits, log salvage fees, gaming fees, and a fraudulent investment scheme.

He has appeared at all levels of Court, including as lead counsel for the plaintiffs in Canadian Federation of Students v. Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority in the Supreme Court of Canada. Most recently, he acted for Rick Desautel in the landmark decision in R. v. Desautel, which established a constitutionally protected right to hunt in British Columbia for the Sinixt people, declared to be extinct by the Canadian government in 1956.

Among other community activities, Mark was President and Chair of the Board of Directors of West Coast Environmental Law, is the founding Vice-President of the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation, and is a long time volunteer coach with the North Shore Baseball Association and the North Vancouver Football Club.

Kate Phipps, Arvay Finlay LLP
Kate Phipps is a litigator in Arvay Finlay’s Vancouver office 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.

Kate received her J.D. from UBC Law in 2011, and was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 2013 after completing a one-year clerkship with the Supreme Court of British Columbia.  She went on to article and practice with the administrative and regulatory law group in the litigation department of a leading international law firm.  Prior to joining Arvay Finlay LLP, Kate spent three years acting as Legal Counsel to the British Columbia Supreme Court, where she assisted a judge with all aspects of a lengthy, complex constitutional trial.

Kate has been an active member of the Canadian Bar Association since 2008, where she volunteers as a member of the Judicial Advisory Committee.  She is a committed supporter of West Coast LEAF, where she currently sits on its litigation committee. Kate also volunteers with the Justice Education Society, speaking to secondary school students about administrative law. 

Raji Mangat, West Coast LEAF
At the core of Raji’s wide-ranging legal career is a commitment to using the law as a tool for positive transformation. Her recent work has focused on access to justice, the impact of detention on women, and family law. Raji holds a law degree from the University of Victoria, a master’s degree in international affairs from Carleton University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from the University of British Columbia.

After completing law school, Raji clerked for Justice Frank Iacobucci at the Supreme Court of Canada. She was called to the Ontario bar in 2004, to the New York State bar in 2005, and to the BC bar in 2011. She has practiced administrative and constitutional law since returning to the West Coast in 2012. Raji serves on the boards of Health Justice and the Vancouver Public Library. Outside of work, Raji likes to make paper crafts, binge on Netflix, and meander along city streets in search of coffee..


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