Mitchell Couling
Mitchell Couling


Mitchell’s commitment is to facilitate First Nation communities in gaining control of their land and resources, and protect the environmental integrity of their landbase. He represents First Nations with respect to their Aboriginal rights and title, Treaty rights, and the Crown’s duty of consultation and accommodation. Mitchell’s practice includes Aboriginal governance, employment law, taxation and economic development; as well as, the negotiation and drafting of various agreements (commercial, accommodation and impact benefit), and on reserve land management.

He began his law career at Woodward as student and was called to the British Columbia Bar in 2001. Mitchell was a member of the litigation team for the Xeni Gwet’in and Tsilhqot’in Nation in their historic successful Aboriginal title and rights claim, Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia.

Mitchell has a Bachelor of Science degree and a Post-Baccalaureate Environmental Science Diploma (Honors). Prior to his law career, Mitchell worked as a Project Biologist and an Environmental Technician.


Selected Cases, Presentations & Publications

Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, 2007 BCSC 1700 (affirmed, 2014 SCC 44) (the Tsilhqot’in Nation Aboriginal title and rights trial judgment)

British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission decision rejecting an exploratory Oil West Permit. Mitchell represented a First Nation in this decision resulting in the first ever rejection of an exploratory well permit on the basis that the proposed project would have irreversible and detrimental effects on the historical, cultural and sacred relationship of the people of the First Nation with the land.

“Corporate Structures, Corporate Governance, Taxation, and Trusts”, Woodward Workshops in First Nations Law and Governance, Knowledge Sharing Series, Whitehorse, Yukon, October 2016.

“Essentials of Employment Law & Duty to Accommodate”, Infonex Professional Development, Human Resources and Management for Aboriginal and Northern Communities, Whitehorse, Yukon, December 2016.

“Unique Aspects of the Management of Aboriginal Estates”, co-authored with John W. Gailus, presented to the CBA Wills and Trust Section,

“Harvest Time: From Consultation to Impact Benefit Agreements”, presented in Whitehorse, Yukon in the Woodward Workshops in First Nations Law and Governance, Knowledge Sharing Series.


Mitchell Couling


Assistant: Shannon Rasmussen


Professional Standing

Member, Law Society of B.C.

Member, Law Society of Yukon

Member, Law Society of Northwest Territories

Member and Former Treasurer, Aboriginal Law Subsection, Vancouver Island, Cdn. Bar Assoc. (BC)

Other Activities

Mitchell enjoys hiking, camping, playing softball and SCUBA diving.