Richard Overstall is a lawyer practicing in Smithers, British Columbia with a particular interest in land-use, environmental and Aboriginal law.
He received an undergraduate degree in geology and worked for a decade as a mineral exploration geologist in Ireland and western Canada. In the mid-1980s, Richard began work with the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en peoples, including coordination of the scientific evidence in the Delgamuukw trial, and advice on the subsequent settlement and treaty negotiations, particularly in the areas of forest and land use. He also helped design a restorative justice program based on Indigenous law and practices, as well as education and training programs in fisheries, wildlife surveys and forest ecology.
Richard obtained his law degree from the University of Victoria in 2000. His general practice has included litigation and policy advice on pesticide judicial reviews, contaminated sites, aboriginal fishing rights, land-use plans, forest-use practices, and establishing a public-private land-use plan monitoring trust. He has published peer-reviewed articles on the use and misuse of DNA evidence in criminal trials, the use of the trust as a legal device to reconcile indigenous and western legal orders, and the concept of property in indigenous law as it relates to land and to so-called cultural property. He is currently investigating the close similarity between the legal orders extant in Northwest Europe in the first millennium AD and those on the Northwest Coast of America in the second millennium AD.
On board since: September 2009
- West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation