The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is recommending in its first-ever set of national standards for admission to the bar that all new Canadian lawyers possess knowledge of aboriginal rights.
- Aboriginal law is the law relating to the content and application of the constitutional protection of aboriginal and treaty rights that was affirmed in the 1982 Constitution Act.
- “It’s something that can arise in a whole number of areas of the law and lawyers, as the protectors of rights, need to be aware of the rights that exist so they can identify areas where they’re being infringed,” said Tom Molloy, a Saskatoon lawyer with Miller Thomson LLP and a leading expert in aboriginal law.
- “It affects every department and agency of government if the changes that they’re making have an impact on aboriginal rights and title, and they have an obligation to consult with the First Nation.”
- There are currently no national standards for admission to the bar since each provincial law society is in charge of their own. And only six provinces - Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and British Columbia - currently list a competency, or standards, profile for this.
- Every lawyer in Canada is required to be a member of a provincial law society. The purpose of the federation’s recommendations is to ensure that the standards across the provinces are uniform.