David is a litigator who has appeared more than a thousand times in the courts of British Columbia and provinces across Canada. He has been senior, lead counsel on several major appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada in constitutional, civil, criminal and First Nation’s cases. David is an adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia, where he has been teaching for more than 20 years. He taught Advanced Criminal Law and now teaches Aboriginal Law to higher level law students. David has also been a frequent guest lecturer for Continuing Legal Education and for the Professional Legal Training Course for articled students.
David graduated from University of Toronto with a degree in Philosophy and then went to law school at the University of British Columbia graduating with a law degree in 1978. After clerking for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, David was called to the bar in 1980 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2009. He holds the highest possible rating for legal ability (A) and ethics (V) in Martindale-Hubbell, an authoritative and global source for rating lawyers and law firms. David is a founding partner of his firm which opened in 1980. Although David has spent more than 30 years as trial and appellate counsel in all kinds of criminal and civil cases, David’s practice has shifted in recent years to concentrate on aboriginal rights and title cases and class actions. He is frequently retained by other law firms as litigation counsel.
- Tiemstra, the first class action case in British Columbia to be decided by the Court of Appeal.
- Meares Island, in which it was established that injunctive relief could be based on aboriginal rights.
- R. v Kokesch, in which the Supreme Court of Canada defined the scope of the constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure.
- R. v. G(RM), in which the Supreme Court of Canada revised the model instructions for an exhortation to a jury where the jury is unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
- R. v. NTC Smokehouse Ltd., in which the Supreme Court of Canada considered the aboriginal right to fish and whether it extended to commercial sale.
- R. v. Grant, in which the Supreme Court of Canada revisited and comprehensively considered the powers of search and seizure pursuant to the common law and the Criminal Code.
- Most recently, David was lead counsel for the Tsilhqot’in in the case of Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia decided by the Supreme Court of Canada on June 26, 2014. The Tsilhqot’in were entirely successful after 25 years in the courts. The decision from the Supreme Court of Canada declared aboriginal title, a first in Canadian history, and has been widely proclaimed as one of the most important cases in the field of aboriginal law.