Estella Charleson

Associate

  • echarleson@jfklaw.ca
  • P 250-405-3464
  • Suite 816 – 1175 Douglas Street – Victoria, BC V8W 2E1

Estella is a member of the Hesquiaht First Nation and belongs to the House of Kinquashtacumlth. Her traditional name is Hee Naih Cha Chist which means ‘water that glimmers’. As an Indigenous woman, Estella feels strongly about protecting and advancing the rights of Indigenous people.

Estella was called to the bar in 2015. Her practice involves research, litigation and strategic advice on Aboriginal rights, title, and governance matters. Estella’s experience involves preparing for and filing a claim for Aboriginal title; advancing Treaty and Aboriginal rights through litigation; asserting Aboriginal rights and title interests in regulatory review processes and/or to support consultation and accommodation processes and/or negotiations; advising on and drafting governance documents; and community research.

Prior to joining JFK Law Estella served as an elected councilor for her Nation. Estella also had the privilege of working as a researcher for the national Accessing Justice and Reconciliation Project, which focused on the revitalization of Indigenous laws and legal traditions. Estella also gained experience in criminal, family, human rights, prison, and employment law working at the Law Centre assisting low income clients.

Estella’s interest in justice for Indigenous peoples has earned her numerous scholarships and awards throughout her legal education and has recently led to an appointment to the BC Aboriginal Justice Council, which is tasked with responding to and addressing the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in the criminal and child welfare systems. Estella is committed to serving Indigenous groups and peoples.

Practice Areas:

  • Advancing Aboriginal rights and title (in and out of court)
  • Consultation and accommodation
  • Governance
  • Indigenous law

Education and Professional Affiliations

  • Vancouver Island University, B.A., with distinction, 2011
  • University of Victoria, J.D., 2014
  • Member, Law Society of B.C., 2015
  • Council Member, BC Aboriginal Justice Council
  • Board of Director, Hooksum Outdoor School

Highlights

  • Assisted in the preparation of an Aboriginal Title claim, including a novel Charter claim
  • Appeared on behalf of Mikisew Cree First Nation in their challenge to amendments to federal environmental laws on the basis of a failure to consult (Canada (Governor General In Council) v Courtoreille, 2016 FCA 311)
  • Acted for First Nations intervening in cases of significance to Aboriginal rights
  • Drafted governance documents incorporating Indigenous legal principles
  • Presented at the Indigenous Bar Association Conference, Canadian Bar Association National Aboriginal Law Conference and the Indigenous Law in the World Symposium on topics concerning Indigenous law
  • Presented to the Canadian Legal Education Board of Directors on the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action