John Rich First Nations Government Litigation Lawyer | Ratcliff LLP

John R. Rich

Senior Counsel
604 988 5201
[email protected]

Legal Assistant & Paralegal
Chelsea Lightheart
[email protected]

John has been with Ratcliff for over 35 years. He represents First Nation governments as general counsel and in litigation. He has conducted several major trials respecting Aboriginal rights and historic claims and has appeared at all levels of Provincial and Federal Courts and the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as numerous administrative tribunals. John has conducted independent investigations into allegations of breach of fiduciary duty for First Nations.

Notable Experience

  • Acts as Tribunal Chair for Huu-ay-aht First Nation (2011-present)
  • Mathias v. The Queen2001 FCT 480; Kitsilano Reserve Litigation; 200-day trial in Federal Court
  • Lax Kw’alaams Indian Band v. Canada2008 BCSC 447; Commercial Fishing Rights; 125-day trial in BC Supreme Court
  • Ahousaht, et al v. Canada2009 BCSC 1494; Commercial Fishing Rights; 120-day trial in BC Supreme Court

News, Publications & Presentations

Awards & Accolades

  • Recognized in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada™  as a leading lawyer in Aboriginal Law/Indigenous Practice. (Recognized consecutively since 2010)
  • Awarded ‘Lawyer of the Year’ (2012) for Aboriginal Law/Indigenous Practice by The Best Lawyers in Canada™

In The Community

John has been a long-term active supporter of many environmental and legal organizations, including:

  • Ecojustice: Director/President 1992-1997; Director 1990-1997, 1998-2004
  • Georgia Strait Alliance: Director 2000-2004
  • West Coast Environmental Law Association: Director 1986-1996; President 1998-2000
  • Islands Trust: Trustee 1976-1984; Chair 1978-1982
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association


  • B.Sc., University of British Columbia
  • LL.B., University of British Columbia

Year Of Call

  • British Columbia, 1986