500 - 221 West Esplanade
North Vancouver BC V7M 3J3
Tel: (604) 988-5201
Fax: (604) 988-1452
- J.D. (Hons) – University of New South Wales
- B.A. (with Distinction) – McGill University
Michelle is an associate whose practice is focused on litigation on behalf of First Nations. She has appeared before all three levels of court in British Columbia, the Federal Courts and various administrative tribunals, including the National Energy Board and the Specific Claims Tribunal. She advises and represents First Nations and others on constitutional, administrative, regulatory, environmental and social justice matters. Notable recent cases that Michelle has been co-counsel on include challenges to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, treaty rights infringement litigation for Treaty 8 First Nations based on the cumulative impacts of development, and litigation on recent and historic breaches of the Crown’s fiduciary duty.
Before coming to Ratcliff & Company LLP, Michelle served as a law clerk in the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales and served as the editor for the Australian Indigenous Law Review. She has a particular interest in comparative constitutional law and the protection of indigenous rights around the world.
- Law Society of British Columbia (2013)
· Tsleil-Waututh Nation v. Canada (AG), 2018 FCA 153 – establishing that Canada failed to fulfil its obligations to consult and accommodate the Squamish Nation prior to approving the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.
· Squamish Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Environment), 2018 BCSC 844 (appeal pending) – challenge by the Squamish Nation to the Provincial government’s approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.
· Blueberry River First Nation v. British Columbia, 2018 BCSC 278 – secured a stay of Blueberry River First Nations’ obligation to pay court hearing fees for a treaty rights trial.
· Coldwater Indian Band v. Minister of Indian Affairs and Norther Development, 2017 FCA 199 – establishing that Canada breached its fiduciary duty to the Band in failing to act in the Band’s best interests and consenting to an outdated pipeline easement through the reserve.
· Doig River First Nation and Blueberry River First Nation v. HMTQ, 2015 SCTC 6 – establishing that Canada breached its fiduciary duty to Blueberry River First Nations and Doig River First Nation when government officials failed to notice that British Columbia had reserved subsurface rights in replacement reserves set aside for the First Nations’ benefit.