Ava Murphy
Ava Murphy


Ava was called to the bar in 2011, joining Woodward in 2015. She specializes in aboriginal and environmental litigation and has represented First Nations and individuals in a wide variety of proceedings and negotiations including those concerning: Aboriginal rights; the Crown’s fiduciary obligations to First Nations; the duty to consult and accommodate; treaty land entitlement; on-reserve residency issues; and environmental nuisance.

Ava is originally from Ojibwe and Lakota territory in Minnesota, and came to Canada to study and practice aboriginal law. When not in the office, you are most likely to find Ava deep in the woods on a hike, catching a frisbee, or sampling a tomato from her garden.

Selected Cases and Publications

Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg v Canada (2016 to present)
(Aboriginal title)

Cowichan Tribes v Canada (2015 to present)
(Aboriginal title and rights)

Ehattesaht First Nation v British Columbia, 2014 BCSC 849
(Duty to consult on the economic aspect of aboriginal title)

Randy Saugstad v Tolko Industries Ltd (settled)
(Environmental public-interest litigation)

Doig River First Nation and Blueberry River First Nations v Canada (2012-2015)
(Breach of fiduciary duty in acquiring reserve lands)

Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation et al v Canada (2014-2015)
(Unjustified infringement of aboriginal right to fish and sale)

Wet’suwet’en First Nation v CN Rail (2012-2015)
(Environmental nuisance and negligence for flooding a reserve)

“Presenting Your Argument on Judicial Review”, with Gregory J. McDade, QC. The Fundamentals of Judicial Review (British Columbia: Continuing Legal Education, 2014).


Ava Murphy


Assistant: Bianca Gunther


Professional Standing

Law Society of British Columbia (2011)

Law Society of Upper Canada (2016)


Marlee G. Kline Prize (2010). Best paper, intersectional feminist analysis.

Wilson Moot Factum Award (2009). Best factum.

Superior Court Judges’ Scholarship (2009). High academic standing, proficiency in law.

Law Foundation Scholarship (2008). High academic standing, faculty recommendation.

Other Activities

Pandora Park Community Garden: former treasurer and founding member