Josephine de Whytell

Josephine de Whytell, sole practitioner, working closely with other sole practitioners for the benefit of clients;

Josephine is from the County of Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. She grew up in Leeds, and earned a government grant to enable her to attend Leeds Girls’ High School, where she completed her GCSE’s and A-levels. She worked at her parent’s art shop on the weekends, painting and making hand-made cards, and worked as a legal assistant immediately following high school, and during all her breaks from university. Josephine attended the University of Keele, in England, and graduated with a degree in Law with Philosophy.

After completing law school, she moved to Saskatoon in 2008 and began working as a legal assistant at Semaganis Worme Legal. She completed the Canadian National Committee on Accreditation process and articled under Donald E. Worme, Q.C., IPC (Queen’s Counsel and Indigenous Peoples Counsel). Mr. Worme, Q.C., IPC was former Commission Counsel for the Ipperwash Inquiry, Stonechild Inquiry, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and represented the Assembly of First Nations in the Provincial Missing and Murdered Women Inquiry in British Columbia.

As a paralegal and articling student, Josephine became acquainted with the array of unique and distinct First Nations and Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan, and has focused her legal practice towards advocating for Indigenous clients in areas of constitutional law, criminal law, child welfare law, and litigation, as well as First Nation elections. 

Josephine was called to the Saskatchewan bar in 2012 and continued to work at Semaganis Worme Legal representing various First Nations, Tribal Councils, Indigenous organizations, and individuals facing discrimination in the justice system. Josephine acted as counsel for the deceased’s family in the Kinew James Inquest and has been engaged in various litigation and appeals across the country defending the inherent rights of First Nations to regulate child welfare in their jurisdictions.

As well as position papers and legal opinions, Josephine has also drafted and delivered presentations, articles and speeches on the subject of inherent and Treaty rights, restorative justice, militarization of the police, gaps in the prison system, and genocide, among others. In 2018, she testified before the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, and the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples with respect to proposed Cannabis legislation, as a witness for the Indigenous Bar Association.

As a non-Indigenous honourary member of the Indigenous Bar Association, Josephine understands her Lawyer’s Oath as comprising an additional element whereby she is accountable to the Indigenous communities she represents and has a duty to do no harm to Indigenous peoples, rights, or interests with the knowledge and skills she has gained throughout her practice.  

Josephine began working at Hensel Barristers in Toronto, in 2016, alongside Katherine Hensel, a Secwepemc (Shuswap) lawyer whose practice has focused on serving Indigenous clients in furtherance of inherent and Treaty rights.

In 2019, Josephine established J. de Whytell Law, where she continues to serve a diverse array of clients and is committed to challenging systemic discrimination and advancing First Nation rights to self-determination.