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Effective Representation of Indigenous Clients: Cases That Should Have Gone to the Supreme Court of Canada, But Didn’t!

Effective Representation of Indigenous Clients: Cases That Should Have Gone to the Supreme Court of Canada, But Didn’t!

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Welcome to Cases That Should Have Gone to the Supreme Court of Canada, But Didn’t! This week, lawyer Kyla Lee discusses the effective representation of Indigenous clients.

Acumen Law Corporation lawyer Kyla Lee gives her take on a made-in-Canada court case each week and discusses why these cases should have been heard by Canada’s highest court: the Supreme Court of Canada.


Tim Echalook was convicted of several sexual assault offences. He pleaded guilty of those offences and was sentenced, and then appealed his sentence arguing ineffective assistance of his lawyer. Essentially what Mr. Echalook was saying was that his lawyer had not advised him about the opportunities and options available to him as an Indigenous person in asking for a certain sentence and had not advised him about the certain sex offender registries that he would need to become a member of.

The Court of Appeal had the opportunity to consider whether or not a person’s Indigenous status has an impact on how an appeal is to be determined. The Court of Appeal determined that there was no incompetence of counsel and Mr. Echalook sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada which was dismissed.

This was a case where the SCC had a huge opportunity to deal with a significant issue of discrimination and historical disadvantage in this country and to set up good parameters so that lawyers know what they need to do when they’re dealing with Indigenous clients and ensure that they follow all the necessary steps in engaging their clients before entering a guilty plea and proceeding to sentencing.

Watch the video for more.

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