Murray W. Browne*
Murray has been involved in Aboriginal law and Treaty negotiations for nearly 20 years and is grateful to have had the benefit and honour of being educated by many wise First Nation leaders and elders. He is legal counsel for several First Nations in the forefront of Treaty negotiations and Land Code implementation, and also works on Specific Claims, and aboriginal rights and title litigation. He is committed to working with First Nations to use rights and title to leverage economic and community development.
Murray has been on the forefront of many important developments for First Nations including the following:
- the first lawyer to work with a First Nation to use copyright law to protect petroglyph images;
- on the team of lawyers that worked with the Tsilhqot’in Nation to win a declaration of aboriginal title;
- worked with a coastal First Nation to negotiate, complete and implement a modern-day Treaty and to develop and implement over 30 new laws;
- worked to develop and implement the first First Nation Property Transfer Tax law in Canada;
- along with Holly Vear, worked a First Nation to develop the first Environmental Protection Law passed by a Land Code First Nation and to issue the first environmental protection order by a First Nation in Canada.
Murray is on the leading edge of assisting First Nations to develop and implement their Land Codes and land laws. He has worked with over 25 First Nations who have taken over management and control of their own Reserve lands. Many of the templates for Land Code wording and Land Code laws that are in use today were developed by Murray working closely with First Nations to develop Land Codes, laws and policies that work for their communities.
Murray is committed to helping First Nations to protect their heritage and culture. He is on the Leadership Council heritage and culture committee, has dealt with numerous archaeological issues with the Arch Branch, and has successfully applied for trademarks to protect First Nation petroglyph images.
Murray also has an extensive background in governance, land use management and taxation and works with First Nations on electoral codes, Land Codes, tax bylaws and laws, and implementation of good governance, taxation and land management practices.
In his spare time, Murray plays piano, plays and coaches hockey and basketball and tries to keep up with teenaged children.
* Denotes a law corporation.
Selected Cases, Presentations & Publications
Snuneymuxw First Nation v. British Columbia, 03 3135, Victoria Registry (log booming in the Snuneymuxw estuary).
Sliammon First Nation v. British Columbia, #07 1717, Victoria Registry (judicial review of geoduck aquaculture tenures).
Snuneymuxw v. HMTQ et al., 2004 BCSC 205 (partly successful injunction by First Nation against log booming in the Nanaimo River Estuary)
Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia,  B.C.J. No. 2465, 2007 BCSC 1700 (leave to appeal granted, Final SCC decision in 2014 SCC 44) (the Xeni Gwet’in aboriginal title and aboriginal rights case – Nemiah Valley)
Whitefish Lake Band of Indians v. Canada, 2007 ONCA 744 (successful intervention on question of whether Canada should pay interest to First Nations for historical breaches)
“Negotiating Protocol Agreements for Treaty Overlap Areas”, National Aboriginal Law Conference – Canadian Bar Association. June 12-13, 2009
“The Proof is In the Putting: Clam Gardens as Proof of Aboriginal Title”, Northwest Anthropological Conference. Victoria, B.C. (April 24, 2008).
“Will You Respect Me in the Morning: Is Funding Part of Meaningful Consultation?”, EAGLE Educational Forum. (November 18, 2005).
“The Promise of Delgamuukw and the Reality of Treaty Negotiations in B.C.”, in Aboriginal Law Since Delgamuukw, ed. Maria Morellato, Q.C. (Aurora: Canada Law Book, 2009).
Murray W. Browne
Assistant: Nancy Valencia
Member, Law Society of B.C. (1994)
Member, Law Society of Yukon
Member, Law Society of Northwest Territories
Member, Law Society of Alberta
Member and Former Treasurer, Aboriginal Law Subsection, Vancouver Island, Cdn. Bar Assoc. (BC)
Law Foundation Scholarship 1990
Ladner Downs Advocacy Prize – Outstanding appellate advocacy.
Silver Medal: Gale Moot, Toronto – Undefeated: mooted before Mmm. Justice L’Heureux-Dubé.
University Publisher’s Award – Most all-round contribution to UVic Law School and community.
Hugh Stephen Shield – UVic Law School Mooting Champion.
Murray likes spending time with his family, playing music (piano, guitar and vocals), sailing, kayaking, and SCUBA. He is also an Advanced Ham Radio operator, a coach and all-round athlete.