A ruling over an indigenous land rights claim has been made using evidence provided by Sidney Fellow in Law Dr Paul McHugh.

The case examined the rights of the indigenous people of the Ross River area. In his evidence Paul McHugh examined the disconnect between contemporary legal claims and the language and intent on which historical agreements were based. The court examined the provisions of an 1870 Order that saw 7.5 million square kilometres of land ceded to the Dominion of Canada.

Dr McHugh's evidence is cited in Canada's National Post: "It was not until the courts developed the common law doctrine of Aboriginal title from the 1970s onwards," he argued, "that those collective land rights and associated Crown obligations became justiciable". The ruling by Justice Leigh Gower accepted the view that the 1870 order did not create a legal obligation on the part of the Crown today to negotiate treaties. 

The decision is likely to be appealed to Canada's Supreme Court.

You can read more about the case in the National Post and the Calgary Herald.

This is an archived news story, first posted in 2012.

If you have something that would make a good news or feature item, please email news@sid.cam.ac.uk