RE: Chippewas of Sarnia Band v. Attorney General of Canada
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Our lawyers were also involved in defending the first Ontario case in which a defendant’s class was certified. The action in Chippewas of Sarnia Band v. Attorney General of Canada et al. related to an aboriginal land claim over an area comprising approximately one quarter of the downtown area of Sarnia, a southwestern Ontario city with a population of 75,000. The land in question was valued in the billions of dollars and contained thousands of residents, several churches, schools, public parks and businesses. As well, a major railway line and the inter-provincial pipeline run across the land. We represented the municipality of Sarnia and four banking institutions, which held residential or commercial mortgage security over the land in dispute. Our lawyers assisted in securing a victory at the court of first instance and persuaded a panel of judges at the Ontario Court of Appeal to uphold the decision on a unanimous basis. The Chippewas of Sarnia Band applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada and were denied. This denial preserved the finding at the Ontario Court of Appeal and the victory for our clients. Our firm occupied a leading role in this action which also involved several of Canada’s most prominent law firms acting for other parties.