Dalhousie Law Journal


Supreme Court of Canada, treaties, Crown, aboriginals, Marshall case, jurisprudence


The Marshall case is the latest in a long series of Supreme Court of Canada decisions concerned with the interpretation of treaties between the Crown and aboriginal peoples in Canada. While the majority and minority judgments agreed on the principles of treaty interpretation to be applied in the case, the significant divergence in opinion between the majority and minority decisions provides important commentary on the differences between articulating and applying these principles. The Marshall case is also noteworthy for the manner in which it addresses similarities and differences pertaining to aboriginal and treaty rights. Because of these various traits, the Marshall case is a microcosm of the increasing legal complexity of Canadian aboriginal rights jurisprudence and the recent tendency of Canadian courts to engage in taxonomy ratherthan contextual analysis.