The principles of administrative and constitutional law govern the manner in which government interacts with its citizens, both individual and corporate. They exist to ensure that the powers of government are exercised solely within legal bounds. A clear understanding of how governments operate is often critical to succeeding in today’s world.
The members of Lawson Lundell's Administrative, Constitutional and Public Law Group provide a full range of services to both public and private sector clients. Our lawyers have acted as counsel before all levels of court in significant administrative and constitutional law cases, involving both Charter of Rights and division of powers issues, and we regularly appear before a variety of administrative tribunals. In addition, our lawyers assist clients in developing legal strategies for complying with complex regulatory requirements and provide advice on the legal and public policy implications of changes in legislation and other government initiatives.
Our experience spans a broad range of industry sectors and related practice areas including aboriginal law, energy, environmental law, forest industry, health, northern practice, professional regulation, property tax and public utility and regulatory law.
Recognitions & Rankings
Recognitions & Rankings
- Best Lawyers in Canada recognizes our lawyers for Administrative and Public Law.
- Benchmark Canada: The Guide to Canada’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys recognizes Lawson Lundell for Public Law.
Examples of work done in the administrative, constitutional and public law area include:
- Successfully represented Appellant (BC Hydro) in leading case regarding the Crown’s duty to consult Aboriginal people in respect of alleged past infringements. (Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. v. Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, 2010 SCC 43; on appeal from the British Columbia Court of Appeal).
- Represented Appellant (Government of Yukon) in a case establishing that the government had successfully fulfilled the Crown’s duty to consult Aboriginal people in the context of a modern treaty. (Beckman v. Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation, 2010 SCC 53) on appeal from the Yukon Court of Appeal). In January 2012, this case was recognized as one of Lexpert's Top 10 Business Decisions of 2011.
- Successfully represented Respondent (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) resisting a leave to appeal application in a case regarding the Crown’s duty to consult Aboriginal people in the context of a number of major pipeline projects in Western Canada. (Standing Buffalo Dakota First Nation et al. v. Enbridge Pipelines Inc. et al., 2010 CanLII 70737; on appeal from the Federal Court of Appeal).
- Successfully represented respondent (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) in defending a series of four appeals brought by First Nations challenging three separate decisions from the National Energy Board that issued Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity for the construction of three major pipeline projects in Western Canada (the Keystone Pipeline Project, the Southern Lights Pipeline Project and the Alberta Clipper Pipeline Expansion Project). (Standing Buffalo Dakota First Nation v. Enbridge Pipelines Inc., 2009 FCA 308; leave to appeal to Supreme Court of Canada denied.)
- Represented Respondent (Government of the Northwest Territories) in an appeal from a decision of the National Energy Board regarding the NEB’s jurisdiction over the Mackenzie Gathering System—part of the $16.6 billion proposed Mackenzie Gas Project. (Anadarko Canada Corporation v. National Energy Board, 2008 FCA 146.) The issue was ultimately resolved following an amendment to federal legislation - the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act.
- Advising various crown corporations on the scope and content of Crown immunity
- Acting in a judicial review proceeding challenging a decision of the B.C. College of Physicians and Surgeons denying permission for a new prostate cancer treatment in B.C.
- Acting on behalf of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association in various constitutional law cases involving the rights of the homeless in Victoria, political advertising on transit buses and school board resolution prohibiting the use of books in schools depicting same sex families
- Representing a major public utility in a constitutional challenge to provisions of the BC Safety Standards Act concerning the sharing of residential electricity consumption data to assist local governments in locating marijuana grow operations
- Representing a federal Member of Parliament in connection with a complaint under the BC Protection of Personal Information Act. The complaint was dismissed on the basis that the provincial statute is constitutionally inapplicable to a federal MP
- Representing the Director of Child and Family Services in Nunavut in connection with a challenge to the constitutionality of s. 6 of the Child and Family Services Act (Nunavut)
- Representing the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories in litigation involving issues of parliamentary privilege
- Representing the Canadian Bar Association on an intervention in a constitutional challenge to provisions of the federal Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act
- Representing a major public utility in an administrative and constitutional law challenge to legislation authorizing the contracting out of administrative services
- Represented various resource and industrial companies, and governments, in litigation involving First Nations, aboriginal law, treaty law and constitutional law
- Preparing draft legislation on behalf of clients in support of submissions to government proposing legislative reform
News & Publications
- SCC clarifies that provincial superior courts can decide the lawfulness of federal legislation if doing so is a “necessary step” in resolving the claim before them15.7.15
- Globe and Mail, 13.2.15
- Craig Ferris quoted by the Globe and Mail, CBC and National Post about the constitutional Issues surrounding the Bountiful, BC Polygamy case.19.8.14
- Pacific Business & Law Institute Conference on Administrative Law: Key Concepts and Thorny Issues, 21.7.09
- Regulatory Boards and Administrative Law Litigation Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2, 586-590, 26.5.09
- Environmental, Indigenous and Natural Resources Blog, 23.12.19
- Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Blog, 3.5.18
- Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Blog, 26.4.18
- Spiritual Sites and Ski Hills: Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia (Forest, Lands and Natural Resources Operations), 2017 SCC 54Environmental, Indigenous and Natural Resources Blog, 6.11.17