Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Bruce Allan Clark (lawyer)

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Name  Bruce Clark

Role  Lawyer
Bruce Allan Clark (lawyer)

Education  University of Western Ontario

Ocla ontario civil liberties award dr bruce allan clark

Bruce Allan Clark (born 22 June 1944) is a Canadian lawyer, writer and activist for the constitutional interest of the original Indian Tribes.


He rose to attention as part of the Gustafsen Lake Standoff and its aftermath.

Life and education

Clark graduated LLB from the University of Western Ontario in 1969, being called to the bar in 1971. He returned to higher education with an MA in North American constitutional history also from the UWO in 1987, followed in 1990 by a PhD in comparative law from the Department of Jurisprudence in the Faculty of Law in the University of Aberdeen School of Law, Scotland.

Indian tribes cases

He gained a reputation in more than 40 cases beginning in 1972 with the Temagami or Bear Island Land Claim case.

He litigated in North America in Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, California, Maine, Nevada, New York, New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Washington (DC).

In 1992 Clark defended the Duffy Lake Road native blockaders of the Lil'Wat Tribe. He was personally involved in the 1995 Gustafsen Lake Standoff, an occupation of a sundance ceremony site on land claimed by the Cariboo Tribal Council, the Alkali Lake band, and the Shuswap (Secwepemc) Nation in addition to a private title holder Lyle James and the non-native governments of both British Columbia and Canada as to different aspects. The occupation was broken up by armed Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The main plank of Clark's aboriginal title claim never had, or has anything to do with the "common law" since at all material times it sheltered under the protection of the high contractual agreement between the great maritime powers of Europe—France, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Russia and United Kingdom—and by the written constitutions and original precedents of the United States and Canada that incorporate into themselves this European "doctrine of discovery" compact. The leading American case of Samuel Worcester settled this point in the course of holding Worcester's conviction was void, because states have no criminal jurisdiction in Indian Country, and this in turn was incorporated into the constitutional law of Canada.

Federal Indian leader Ovide Mercredi blamed Clark for failed mediation attempts at Gustafsen Lake "Clark is using this situation as an opportunity to grandstand on his international tribunal theory. Somehow he has managed to convince some people in there that he's the way to get them sovereignty."

The federal agency for which Mercredi worked, the Assembly of First Nations is an association of the Indian bands or "First Nations" of Canada, which term signifies the form of Indian government first constituted by the Canadian federal government's statute the Indian Act of 1876. A "First Nation" is not literally a first nation, i.e., not an independent indigenous government such as an authentic Indian Tribe that remains outside the Indian Act on the ground its identity is aboriginal and protected by the constitution that is a higher authority and with sovereign rights not enjoyed by bands or First Nations that are subject to highly regulatory federal Indian Acts. Bands or First Nations and the Assembly of First Nations are the mortal enemies of the unregistered original Indian Tribes whose contrasting system of government is not regulated by the Indian Acts.

Other observers place substantial blame with the RCMP, with RCMP Superintendent in Charge of the Gustafsen Lake standoff Len Olfert telling Sergeant Denis Ryan to "Kill this Clark and smear the prick and everyone with him."

Law license dispute

The Ottawa-based Clark acted as a lawyer for some of the occupiers despite not being licensed to practice law in British Columbia. Although inter-provincial representation on a case by case basis is as common in Canada as is inter-state representation in the United States, the reason for Clark's lack of a case license in British Columbia was that the bar association there refused to grant the normal dispensation to Clark. This representation was at a first appearance and bail hearing for which a licence to act for the defense on the merits is not required before speaking, especially on the critical constitutional question of the court's jurisdiction to proceed at all, i.e., habeas corpus. A defendant normally must disclose an objection going to jurisdiction at first opportunity.

When Clark asked to file a habeas corpus objection to the court's assumption of jurisdiction, the judge answered by citing him for criminal contempt of court. In the course of his arrest he was also charged with assaulting an officer. Anticipating that Clark was suffering from "delusional paranoia" the judge bound him over for custodial psychiatric examination. He was found fit to stand trial on the charges during the examination at Riverview Forensic Institute.

Subsequently, Clark applied for but was refused refugee status in Norway.

On June 19, 1996, the Law Society of Upper Canada considered 22 charges of alleged misconduct, including assault and illegal citizen's arrests. The Society acquitted Clark of 19 of the charges, with the exception of the attempted citizen's arrest of four British Columbia Court of Appeal Judges, for which he was reprimanded.

The convicting judge and disbarring panel of the Law Society apparently felt the Law Society as at June 19, 1996, misunderstood the facts, although for all that appears no fresh evidence was adduced or referenced.

Later, in 1999, at a second disbarment proceeding of the same Law Society, Clark was disbarred for his conviction by the British Columbia provincial court of criminal contempt of court and assault officer. Clark returned to Canada and was jailed in 1997 for three months.

He tried to get reinstated in 2003.


Bruce Allan Clark (lawyer) Wikipedia