Our Lawyers

500 - 221 West Esplanade
North Vancouver BC V7M 3J3
Tel: (604) 988-5201
Fax: (604) 988-1452

mkirchner [at] ratcliff.com
Raquel Handel
rhandel [at] ratcliff.com

F. Matthew Kirchner


Matthew is a partner in Ratcliff and Company's litigation group.  He has practiced law since 1999, focusing primarily on First Nations issues and major First Nations litigation. He has appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada and before all levels of court in British Columbia, the Federal Courts and several administrative tribunals on a wide range of cases, primarily for First Nation clients. He has been counsel on several significant aboriginal rights and title cases including Ahousaht Nation v. Canada, which is the first case in Canada to establish an aboriginal right to harvest and sell a wide variety of fisheries resources.  He has also appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada in cases dealing with aboriginal fishing rights and reserve land issues.

Matthew served as a Law Clerk in the British Columbia Supreme Court (1997-1998).  He has written several articles on aboriginal rights and title issues for legal education conferences. Most recently he has presented papers on these subjects at conferences sponsored by the Continuing Legal Education Society and Pacific Business and the Law.  Matthew has served on the board of directors of the Georgia Strait Alliance, a citizens group aimed at protecting the marine environment around the Strait of Georgia, and the Gambier Island Conservancy. Matthew lives in Vancouver with his wife Lisa Osoba and their children Ella and Charlie.

  • BA and LL.B from University of British Columbia
  • Legal research assistant to director of UBC First Nations Legal Studies Program
  • Law Clerk, British Columbia Supreme Court
Professional and Other Memberships: 
  • Law Society of British Columbia, 1999
Notable Cases: 
  • Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada (Attorney General), 2009 BCCA 1494, 2011 BCCA 237,
  • Lax Kw'alaams Indian Band v. Canada (Attorney General), 2011 SCC 56
  • R. v. Kapp, 2008 SCC 41
  • Salt Spring Aquafarms v. Salt Spring Harbour Authority, 2006 FCA 20
  • Clifton v. Hartley Bay Indian Band, 2005 FCC 1030
  • Squamish Indian Band v. Canadian Pacific (also known as Canada (A.G.) v. Canadian Pacific), 2000 BCSC 933, 2002 BCCA 478
  • Osoyoos Indian Band v. Oliver (Town), 2001 SCC 85
  • Mathias v. Canada
Community Involvement: 
  • Georgia Strait Alliance, Lifetime Member