Instructor(s): Kerry Wilkins
Indigenous Peoples and the Constitution of Canada (LAW370)

Note: For graduate students, the course number is LAW7098HS.

Note: This is an eligible course for credit towards the Aboriginal Legal Studies Certificate.

Note: Students who do not meet the pre-/co-requisite may enroll with the instructor's permission.

This course is an exercise in legal archaeology. Students will study in depth, from its beginning, a significant current or recent Canadian case that deals with Aboriginal law. This year’s case will be Dickson v. Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, a case from Yukon currently awaiting a hearing before the Supreme Court of Canada. It’s about whether, and if so how, the Charter of Rights applies to an Indigenous community exercising a right of self-government pursuant to a modern treaty. The class will read, and meet during the term to discuss relevant provisions of the Vuntut Gwitchin Final Agreement and self-government agreement, the statutory provisions governing conduct of this proceeding, the written arguments and decisions in the lower courts and the written arguments (on the leave application and on the merits) at the Supreme Court of Canada. We'll also watch (on video) and discuss the S.C.C. hearing, if the hearing takes place before or during winter term and the S.C.C. decision (if it’s released before winter term ends). There may also be an opportunity for students to argue the case orally in class and to meet and discuss the case with counsel involved in arguing it.

Students' grades will reflect class participation (10%) and written work (90%). Each student will write a case comment, a factum or a judgment in the case of approximately 20 pages (5,000 words).
Academic year
2022 - 2023

At a Glance

Second Term



6 JD


M: 4:10 - 6:00 pm