Karey Brooks

Principal

She/Her/Hers
  • kbrooks@jfklaw.ca
  • P 604-687-0549 ext 102
  • C 778-990-8129
  • 340 - 1122 Mainland Street Vancouver, BC V6B 5L1

Karey primarily acts for First Nations and First Nations organizations in court and negotiations with government and industry on matters relating to Aboriginal rights and title, consultation, regulatory matters, including environmental assessments, and general governance matters, including status and membership issues. Karey also has experience in other public law related work, including with respect to Charter rights litigation and public inquiries.

Karey is widely recognized for the major contributions she has made to aboriginal law and the legal profession generally. As lead litigation counsel, Karey is recognized as a fearless advocate who has advanced a number of unique claims in pursuit of a legal remedy to the complex issues her clients face, which recently include:

  • representing Kwikwetlem First Nation in its Aboriginal title claim in the context of multiple fee simple grants over the land, raising novel extinguishment issues; and Charter claims for failing to institute an Aboriginal land title registration system;
  • representing Snaw-Naw-As Nation for return of lands that are no longer being used for a railway purpose;
  • representing Beaver Lake Cree Nation in its Treaty Infringement claim from cumulative effects of development;
  • representing the Okanagan Indian Band in its Charter claim for safe drinking water on reserve;
  • representing a number of individuals review the decisions of Peters Nation Band Council denying them membership;
  • representing the DFN Glendale Band Council a leadership dispute
  • representing Mandy Lewis in her claim against WestJet for its failure to implement an anti-harassment program,

She has acted a co-counsel with Robert Janes QC on a number of landmark Aboriginal cases from trial to the SCC including: Mikisew v Canada (consultation on legislation); Keewatin v. Ontario (division of powers); Behn v. Moulton Contracting (treaty rights as defence to tort). Karey has also appeared as lead counsel at the SCC for a number of interveners in: Keewatin v. Ontario; Daniels v. Canada; and TWU v. Law Society of BC.  She also acted as Associate Commission Counsel in the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (2010-2012).

Karey has been Lexpert® ranked as a Leading Lawyer in Aboriginal Law since 2016, as one of the Best Lawyers in Aboriginal Law in Best Lawyers in Canada since 2017. In 2016, Karey was awarded the UBC Law School Outstanding Young Alumnus Award and in 2015, Karey Brooks was recognized as one of Canada’s Legal Rising Stars by Lexpert.

Karey has given countless hours of pro bono work as lead counsel to the intervener group BC-LGBTQ Coalition in TWU v Law Society including at the SCC, and as co-counsel with respect to a judicial review of the Minister of Education’s decision to consent to the law school at TWU.

Karey spearheaded the development of Reconciliation Action Plans in response to the T&R Calls to Action in her firm, by publishing in The Advocate, and as part of the T&R CBA Working Group. She was a key developer in the CBA resource for law firms to develop RAPs, and presents on the importance of lawyers and law firms in advancing reconciliation in her role as co-chair of the CBA-T&R Advisory Group.

She is a member of Provincial Council on the CBABC; a board member on the BC Advocates Society; and served for many years as a board member for WCLEAF. Karey has supported the work of anti-violence organizations as a board member of WAVAW and through ongoing pro bono legal services for victims of sexual assault through a program hosted by Ending Violence Association of BC. She also acted as pro bono counsel to a number of intervener groups in the Justice Camp Inquiry. In 2018 she was invited as faculty for the Lawyers without Borders program in Tanzania that provided Tanzanian lawyers training prosecuting wildlife trafficking crimes.

Karey is regularly asked to chair and present in CLE programs on topics relating to aboriginal law and advocacy including for the CLE, Trial Lawyers, and PBLI. Karey also actively pursues lifelong learning, among other achievements, earning two Masters of Law degrees from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Practice Focus

  • Aboriginal rights litigation
  • Duty to consult and accommodate
  • Regulatory hearings
  • Land use planning
  • Band governance
  • Charter rights
  • Commissions of inquiry

Education

  • Osgoode Hall Law School, LL.M. (2005)
  • University of British Columbia, LL.B. (2002)
  • University of British Columbia, B.A. (1998)

Highlights

  • Counsel to Mandy Lewis with respect to a class action proceeding against Westjet for breach of its Anti-Harassment Promise. Successfully defended an application by Westjet to strike the claim. Lewis v. Westjet (BC Supreme Court, 2017 and BCCA 2019)

  • Co-counsel with Robert Janes for Mikisew Cree First Nation to challenge changes to federal environmental laws on the basis of a failure of adequately consult. Mikisew v. Canada (SCC, 2018)

  • Counsel for Mikisew Cree First Nation on the hearing of an approval for an oil sands mine in Alberta (October-December 2018). Teck Resources Ltd (Alberta Energy Regulator)

  • Counsel for three individuals seeking to judicial review decisions of band council to deny them membership under a custom membership code. Peters v Peters First Nation Band (FC, 2018)

  • Counsel for Kwikwetlem First Nation in their Aboriginal title litigation. Brought an application to strike certain defences of the Province relating to extinguishment. Giesbrecht v British Columbia et al (BCSC, 2018)

  • Counsel to the BC-LGBTQ Coalition intervening at the BC Supreme Court, BC Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada with respect to whether the Law Society of BC struck the appropriate balance between equality rights and religious freedom in deciding to refuse accreditation to Trinity Western University’s proposed school of law. Trinity Western University v. Law Society of British Columbia (SCC, 2017)

  • Counsel for the intervener Aseniwuche Wineak Nation at the Supreme Court of Canada case about whether non-status Indians and Metis are “Indians” for the purpose of s.91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867Daniels v. Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development) (SCC, 2016)

  • Co-counsel for WAVAW intervening in the Canadian Judicial Council’s Inquiry into whether Federal Court Justice Robin Camp should be removed from the bench for misconduct while presiding over a sexual assault trial.

  • Acted for the Te’mexw Treaty Association intervening in the Supreme Court of Canada concerning proper interpretation of Treaty 3 hunting rights and ability of governments to limit those rights. (Keewatin v. Ontario (Minister of Natural Resources) (SCC, 2014))

  • Acted for Grassy Narrows First Nation in the 70 day trial on the proper interpretation of Treaty 3 taking up clause and in the Ontario Court of Appeal. (Keewatin v. Ontario (Minister of Natural Resources)

  • Acted for the Te’mexw Treaty Association intervening at the Supreme Court of Canada with respect to whether the trial judge erred in finding Aboriginal title was established, whether the Crown breached its duty to consult and accommodation, and whether provincial laws of general application apply to Aboriginal title land. Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia (SCC, 2014)

  • Acted for White River First Nation with respect to whether the Director of Mineral Resources breached his duty to consult and accommodation White River in allowing a mining project to be considered for regulatory approval. (White River First Nation v. Yukon Government (YKSC, 2013)

  • Acted as Associate Counsel to the Oppal Commission with respect to an inquiry into the police investigations into the missing and murdered women of the downtown eastside between 1997-2002 and Crown counsel’s decision to stay charges against Robert Pickton in 1997. (Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (September 29, 2010 – November 30, 2012)