Rogerson Law Successfully Represents Chief Donald Mathias and the Capilano Indian Nation and Band Before the Supreme Court of British Columbia

Rogerson Law recently successfully represented Chief Donald Mathias and the Capilano Indian Nation and Band (the Capilano Nation) before the Supreme Court of British Columbia addressing the Court’s jurisdiction to hear a matter involving the Squamish Nation.

The dispute arose from the Capilano Nation seeking relief against a federal decision maker in connection with an Amalgamation agreement that was established in 1923, which it argues led to an unjust allocation of Squamish Nation funds. As a result, the Capilano Nation has seen no more than a meagre quarterly stipend, which is inadequate. The only solution for the Capilano Nation is secession from the Squamish. In its application, the Capilano Nation argued that the Amalgamation should be cancelled, that the Capilano Nation should be declared a nation separate and apart from Squamish Nation, that Squamish Nation should undertake an accounting of funds distributed to it by the Crown and that a receiver should be appointed. In response, the Squamish Nation argued that this case was a matter of federal jurisdiction and that the Capilano Nation’s application should be struck as a result.

In its petition to the Court addressing the issue of jurisdiction, Andrew Rogerson successfully argued on behalf of his client that whether this Court has the jurisdiction to hear the Petition against the Squamish Nation cannot be determined solely on the basis of the relief sought against the Crown. Regardless of the jurisdiction with respect to the relief sought against the Crown, he argued, the relief sought against the Squamish Nation is within the jurisdiction of this Court.

The Honourable Madam Justice Ahmad, in her Reasons for Judgment handed down on September 29, 2021, found that “there is nothing … to suggest that the Court does not have the jurisdiction to determine either an allegation of misappropriation or breach of an agreement, whether made against an Indigenous nation or not.”  Ultimately, the court decided in Capilano Nation’s favour with respect to the Court’s jurisdiction to hear the Capilano Nation’s application and awarded costs of the application against the Squamish Nation.

The Rogerson Law Group team was led by Andrew Rogerson.