Ava Murphy
Ava Murphy^


As a partner at Woodward and Company, Ava’s practice spans the fields of Aboriginal rights and title, the duty to consult and accommodate, the Crown’s fiduciary obligations to First Nations, and treaty land entitlement.

Ava is originally from Ojibwe and Lakota territory in Minnesota, later coming to Canada to study and practice Aboriginal law. She was first called to the bar in 2011 and began working for Woodward and Company in 2015. Since then, she has represented myriad First Nations communities and individuals, fiercely negotiating and pursuing justice on their behalf.

Backed by a Bachelor of Science in wildlife ecology & rural sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of British Columbia, Ava’s current work is specialized in major Aboriginal litigation.

Ava is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia. She’s been recognized and awarded multiple times for her academic and professional achievements, including the 2010 Marlee G. Kline Prize for best paper and the 2009 Superior Court Judges’ Scholarship for high academic standing.

^ Denotes a ULC

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: Geneva Grzybowski


Professional Standing

Law Society of British Columbia (2011)

Law Society of Ontario (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