Jay is committed to assisting First Nations in achieving recognition of their Aboriginal rights through: education and awareness, consultation and accommodation, negotiated settlements, and – where necessary – litigation.
Jay Nelson graduated from the University of Victoria Faculty of Law in 2000, where he received the Law Society Gold Medal. Upon graduation, he served as a law clerk for the Chief Justice of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, in the 2000-2001 year. Jay joined Woodward and Company LLP in 2002 and spent the following years as a member of the legal team for the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation and the Tsilhqot’in Nation in their historic Aboriginal title and rights claim, Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia and Canada.
Jay was called to the British Columbia bar in 2005. He has intervened before the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of First Nations in Mikisew Cree First Nation v. Canada (Minister of Canadian Heritage),  3 S.C.R. 388, R. v. Morris,  2 S.C.R. 915, Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. v. Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, 2010 SCC 43, and Lax Kw’alaams Indian Band v. Canada (Attorney General), 2011 SCC 56,  3 SCR 535. He acted as co-counsel (with Sean Nixon) for the Tsilhqot’in Nation in their opposition to the proposed Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine, which was rejected by the Federal Government in November 2010, and acted as counsel for the Tsilhqot’in Nation again in opposing the “New” Prosperity Mine, which was rejected by the Federal Government in February 2014. He appeared as co-counsel on behalf of Tsilhqot’in Nation in the Tsilhqot’in Nation appeals argued before the B.C. Court of Appeal in November 2010 and the Supreme Court of Canada in November 2013.
Selected Presentations & Publications
Mikisew Cree First Nation v. Canada (Minister of Canadian Heritage),  3 S.C.R. 388 [Counsel for the Intervener Treaty 8 Tribal Association]
R. v. Morris,  2 S.C.R. 915 [Counsel for the Intervener Chief Roger William]
Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, 2007 BCSC 1700
Lax Kw’alaams Indian Band v. Canada (Attorney General), 2011 SCC 56,  3 SCR 535
Rio Tinto Alcan Inv. v. Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, 2010 SCC 43
“The Grant of Oil Sands Tenures and the Honour of the Crown: Is Alberta Satisfying its Duty of Consultation?”, Canadian Institute’s Aboriginal Consultation for Industry Conference. Edmonton, AB, Feb. 26, 2008. Co-authored with Jenny Biem.
“New Light on the Path: The Concept of Reconciliation in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia”, Tsilhqot’in First Nation v. British Columbia: The Immediate Impact and Next Steps – Pacific Business Law Institute Conference. Vancouver, BC, March 4-5, 2008.
“Aboriginal Law”, in Annual Review of Law & Practice, co-authored with Robert Janes, (CLEBC, 2008).
“Case Study – The Prosperity Mine Case”, Aboriginal Rights and Environmental Law Conference – Pacific Business & Law Institute. Vancouver, BC, Dec. 7-8, 2010. Co-authored with Sean Nixon.
“Current Developments in the Law of Aboriginal Rights and Title: Emerging Issues to Watch”, Aboriginal Law Update 2011 Conference – Pacific Business & Law Institute. Vancouver, BC, April 7-8, 2011.
Assistant: Lisa Spaven
Member, Law Society of Alberta (2011)
Member, Law Society of B.C. (2005)
The Law Society Gold Medal and Prize, 2000
The William R. McIntyre Award [highest qualities of community service, student leadership and academic excellence over the course of the LL.B. program], 2000