Federal Court


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JURISDICTION
Federal Court had jurisdiction to review decisions of First Nation councils

Application by member of First Nation for declaration that one resolution prepared by First Nation was void ab initio and for order quashing second resolution passed by First Nation’s band council purporting to ratify first resolution. First Nation wanted provincial hydro company to pay present value of sum payable over 17 years. First Nation prepared first resolution formally approving receipt of accelerated lump sum payment and authorizing First Nation to provide full and final release. First resolution and release were signed by chief and four band councillors. Hydro company made lump sum payment. Band council subsequently passed second resolution ratifying first resolution. Application dismissed on other grounds. Federal Court had jurisdiction to hear matter. First Nation was “federal board, commission or other tribunal” that had exercised or purported to exercise jurisdiction or powers encompassed by s. 18.1 of Federal Courts Act (Can.). Jurisprudence held Federal Court had jurisdiction to judicially review decisions of custom First Nation councils and related agencies. Band council’s decisions had not been “private law” decisions. First Nation derived its jurisdiction from both federal common law of aboriginal rights and its capacity to exercise federal statutory powers conferred on council of Indian band by federal Indian Act (Can.). Nature of jurisdiction exercised by band council was in relation to governance of First Nation and was matter of public interest given history that had led to entitlement to payments. Application had been brought in timely manner after second resolution had been passed to ratify first resolution.

Gamblin v. Norway House Cree Nation Band Council (Dec. 20, 2012, F.C., Mandamin J., File No. T-434-06) 223 A.C.W.S. (3d) 807.

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