Mark Underhill*

Telephone: 604.283.2912

Mark G. Underhill is a 1995 graduate of the Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, and was called to the Bar of the Law Society of British Columbia in 1996. He practised with Arvay Finlay for ten years before establishing his own firm in 2005. In 2017, Mark reconstituted Arvay Finlay with Joseph J. Arvay O.C., O.B.C.,Q.C., and other former members of the firm

Mark maintains a broad general civil litigation practice, with particular expertise in aboriginal, administrative and environmental law, including multi-party disputes involving property remediation and liability for contamination.  In addition to his expertise in public law, Mark has acted in a number of class action suits, including claims involving tainted blood, misleading advertising, employment benefits, log salvage fees, gaming fees, and a fraudulent investment scheme

He has appeared at all levels of Court, including as lead counsel for the plaintiffs in Canadian Federation of Students v. Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority in the Supreme Court of Canada. Most recently, he acted for Rick Desautel in the landmark decision in R. v. Desautel, which established a constitutionally protected right to hunt in British Columbia for the Sinixt people, declared to be extinct by the Canadian government in 1956.

Mark has appeared regularly for the Environmental Appeal Board, Forest Appeals Commission, BC Review Board, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.  He has acted as legal counsel for, and as an Inquiry Officer in inquiries under the Expropriation Act.  Additionally, Mark has acted for the BC Assessment Authority, Oil and Gas Appeals Tribunal, Canadian Human Rights Commission, Immigration and Refugee Board, Farm Industry Review Board, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Conflicts of Interest Commissioner and the former Expropriation Compensation Appeal Board.

Mark is a regular speaker at legal educational conferences in a variety of areas, including advocacy and administrative law, and has published widely, including articles in peer-reviewed academic journals.

Mark has been selected by his peers to be included in Best Lawyers in Canada in the areas of aboriginal law, administrative and public law, and environmental law, and is L’expert rated in the areas of environmental and aboriginal law. He has taught environmental law in the Faculties of Law and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria.

Among other community activities, Mark was President and Chair of the Board of Directors of West Coast Environmental Law, is the founding Vice-President of the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation, and is a long time volunteer coach with the North Shore Baseball Association and the North Vancouver Football Club.


  • “Tribunal Independence and the Role of Elected Officials: A Critical Examination of the Pat Pimm Conflict of Interest Opinion” 2014 Administrative Law Conference (Continuing Legal Education Society, October 2014), with Matthew R. Voell

  • “Researching the Decisions of Tribunals & Quasi-Judicial Bodies” Legal Research 2014 (Continuing Legal Education society, October 2014), with Matthew R. Voell

  • “You Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Remediated): The New Limitation Act and Contaminated Site Remediation” 2014 Civil Litigation Conference (Continuing Legal Education Society, March 2014), with Matthew R. Voell

  • “The Canada – China Investment Treaty and First Nations” Aboriginal Law: Current Issues, (Pacific Business and Law Institute, May 2013)

  • “Neskonlith Indian Band v. Salmon Arm (City): Municipalities and the Duty to Consult First Nations” 9th Annual Aboriginal Law, Consultation and Accommodation, (Canadian Institute, February 2013)

  • Chapter 11, “Judicial Review Fundamentals” Administrative Law Practice Manual, Continuing Legal Education Society (June 2012) with Lisa Fong

  • “Difficult Issues in Administrative Law – 2012″ Advanced Administrative Law (Pacific Business and Law Institute, April 2012)

  • “Life After Dunsmuir: It’s Getting Easier, Isn’t It?” Advanced Administrative Law (Pacific Business and Law Institute, May 2010)

  • “Standard of Review in British Columbia after Dunsmuir and Khosa” The 5th Annual National Forum Administrative Law and Practice (Osgoode Professional Development, October 2009)

  • “The Future of Standard of Review in British Columbia and Beyond” Advanced Administrative Law and Practice (Canadian Institute, May 2009)

  • “Understanding Tribunal Independence after Ocean Port” Administrative Law: Key Concepts and Thorny Issues (Pacific Business and Law Institute, February 2009)

  • “Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick: A Rose by any Other Name?”, (2008) 66 The Advocate 343 (Also 21 Canadian Journal of Administrative Law and Practice)

  • “University of British Columbia v. University of British Columbia Faculty Association: Standard of Review under the ATA”, (2008) 21 Canadian Journal of Administrative Law and Practice 99

  • “Book Review, Tournament of Appeals – Granting Judicial Review in Canada”, (2007) 65 The Advocate 853

  • “R v. Kapp: The Continued Debate over ‘Race’ v. ‘Rights’ Based Fisheries”, Environmental Law and Canada’s First Nations, (Pacific Business and Law Institute, March, 2007)

  • “Stuart and British Columbia College of Teachers: Professional Misconduct and Disability/Addiction” Self-Governing Professions – 2006 Update (Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, April 2006)

  • “Book Review, Unnatural Law – Rethinking Canadian Environmental Law and Policy”, (2004) 62 The Advocate 931

  • “Case Review: Paul v. British Columbia (Forest Appeals Commission)” National Constitutional and Human Rights Section Newsletter (Canadian Bar Association, February, 2004)

  • “Case Law Update” 2004 Environmental Law Conference (Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, February, 2004)

  • “The Role of Administrative Tribunals on Judicial Review and Statutory Appeals” 2003 Administrative Law Conference (Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, October, 2003) (with C.C. Cheng)

  • “The Obligation to Produce and Production from Government” Production of Documents (Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, November, 2002)

*A professional law corporation