Ava G. Murphy^

Contact Details

Ava G. Murphy

Assistant: Geneva Grzybowski


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, treaty land entitlement, and other litigation, negotiation and advocacy work aimed at reconciliation.

Ava is one of the lead counsel in the longest trial in Canadian history: the Cowichan Nation’s pursuit of title to their historic village at Tl’uqtinus, and associated fishing rights. She has represented myriad First Nations communities, fiercely negotiating and pursuing justice on their behalf.

A member of the Law Societies of British Columbia and Ontario, Ava is backed by a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of British Columbia as well as two Bachelor of Science degrees, in wildlife ecology & rural sociology, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ava has been recognized and awarded multiple times for her achievements, including the Marlee G. Kline Prize for best paper and the Superior Court Judges’ Scholarship for high academic standing.

Ava is gratefully from Anishinaabe and Dakota territory in Minnesota.

^Denotes a ULC

Membership & Professional Affiliations

  • Member, Law Society of British Columbia (2011)
  • Member, Law Society of Ontario (2016 -2019)
  • Member, Law Society of Northwest Territories (2023)

Practice Areas

  • Aboriginal and Treaty Rights
  • Aboriginal Title
  • Consultation and Accommodation
  • Housing
  • Specific Claims
  • Strategic Reconciliation Planning
  • Treaty Negotiation and Implementation

Selected Presentations & Publications

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

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

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 (2012-2013)
(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).

Pandora Park Community Garden: former treasurer and founding member