Peter W. Hutchins

Barreau du Québec, 1973
Law Society of Ontario, 2016



During his forty years of practice devoted exclusively to Aboriginal peoples, Peter Hutchins has been involved extensively in negotiation, litigation, counsel and special advisor work for First Nations and Inuit across Canada as well as non-Aboriginal Governments. His litigation experience includes numerous appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Courts of Canada, the courts of Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, the Northwest Territories, as well as the United Nations Human Rights Committee (as it then was) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.


Mr. Hutchins has developed treaty negotiation positions involving historic, contemporary – including intensive work on the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement – and international treaties and implementation measures on a full range of issues including Aboriginal rights and title, human rights, environmental, constitutional and international law for Aboriginal communities throughout Canada. He has extensive experience in treaty and legislative drafting and has advised the Federal and Territorial governments on Aboriginal governance and treaty implementation issues.


Mr. Hutchins has served as Special Advisor on Aboriginal Self-Government to the Canadian Minister of Indian Affairs. During the Crown/Mohawk crisis of 1990 in Quebec, he acted as special envoy for the National Chief and subsequently as counsel for the Chief Negotiator for the Mohawk community of Kanesatake. He was also legal adviser to the Aboriginal members of the Canadian delegation negotiating amendments to the 1916 Migratory Birds Convention.


In 1980, Mr. Hutchins introduced the Aboriginal Peoples and the Law course at McGill University Faculty of Law which he taught through to 1996. He has written extensively and appears regularly as guest lecturer, chair and panellist addressing Aboriginal, constitutional, environmental and international law issues.


  • City of London College – Certificate in International Law
  • London School of Economics/University of London, Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Law, 1971
    • Thesis on The Legal Status of the Inuit (with distinction)
  • Université Laval, Bachelor of Civil Law (LL.L), 1969
  • McGill University, Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science,1966


  • Recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his contributions towards advancing the legal footing of indigenous peoples.
  • Recipient of the “Lawyer of the Year” in Aboriginal Law designation by Best Lawyer for several years.
  • Recipient of the “Most Frequently Recommended” for Aboriginal Law in Montreal designation by Lexpert for several years.
  • Listed in Best Lawyers Canada the last 10 consecutive years (2006-2017).
  • Recommanded by Chambers Canada as one of the leading lawyers in Aboriginal Law for several years.
  • Hutchins Legal was recognized in 2016 byGlobal Law Expert as the leading Aboriginal Rights law firm in Canada.


  • Quebec Bar Member, Rules Committee of the Federal Courts, Subcommittee on Global Review of the Federal Courts Rules.
  • Founding Member and past Chair, National Aboriginal Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association.
  • Former Member of the Executive, National Constitutional Law and Environment Law Sections of the Canadian Bar Association.
  • Former Member, Canadian Council of Resource and Environment Ministers Task Force on Northern Development.


  • Canadian Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Canadian Council on International Law
  • American Society of International Law
  • International Commission of Jurists