Edited by Maxime Faille, Cynthia Westaway and
Specific Claims Tribunal Open For Business
The long-awaited Specific Claims Tribunal has officially opened
its doors and is now accepting specific claims. A
specific claim is a claim filed by a First Nation for compensation
for its losses arising from the Crown's failure to fulfill, or
breach of, a legal obligation. Section 14 of the The
Specific Claims Tribunal Act (the Act) provides an
enumerated list of grounds that would trigger the Crown's
obligations to warrant a specific claim. The Act was
passed by Parliament in June 2008, and replaces the former Indian
Claims Commission process. The Rules committee finalized its
submissions and the Tribunal is now fully operational.
The tribunal has jurisdiction in relation to claims submitted to
the Minister where either (a) the claim is outstanding after at
least three years since it was filed and the Minister has not
provided notification to the First Nation whether or not the claim
will be negotiated; or (b) where the claim has been filed with the
Minister and the First Nation is notified that the claim will not
be negotiated or (c) in the course of negotiating a claim the
Minister consents to filing the claim with the Tribunal.
First Nations seeking to file a specific claim can do so by
filing a declaration of claim. All First Nations filing a
claim must be represented by legal counsel. The Rules do
provide, however, that permission may be given in
"special circumstances" by the Tribunal for a claimant to
be represented by someone who is not legal
Compensation for claims under this new process is capped at $150
million. Once a declaration is filed with the
tribunal, First Nations have 30 days to serve a
declaration on the Crown. The Crown then has 30 days to
serve a response. The Registrar then notifies the Parties of
a schedule for a case conference. Section 49 of
the new Rules requires strict adherence to a list of matters
that must be discussed by the Parties at the first scheduled case
management conference. Mediation is available to the
Parties at any time in the proceedings
The agenda for case management conferences and the timing of
submission of declarations and responses is intended to expedite
the claims process.
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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