The Court of Appeal released its long-awaited judgment in British Columbia v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited, allowing the appeal of Imperial and other tobacco manufacturers from a judgment striking out the companies' third party claims against the Government of Canada. This is the latest chapter in the civil action brought by British Columbia against tobacco manufacturers to recover health care costs said to have been caused by ingesting tobacco products. Ken McEwan and Brent Olthuis represented Imperial Tobacco. The judgment can be found at 2009 BCCA 540.
Also in December, Cambridge University Press published The Role of Domestic Courts in Treaty Enforcement: A Comparative Study. The book examines the application of treaties by domestic courts in twelve countries. The chapter on Canada was written by Gib van Ert.
On November 25th, Ken McEwan presented a paper to the Civil Litigation Section of the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch on "An Overview of the New Supreme Court Civil Rules - What is Included; What will be Different" in Vancouver. Ken is a member of the Rules Revision Committee for the Supreme Court Rules. That same week, John Hunter spoke on "Ethical Issues concerning the Withdrawal of Counsel" at the CBA's Annual Branch Conference in Los Angeles.
The second edition of the Continuing Legal Education Society's publication, Injunctions - British Columbia Law and Practice, was published this month. Of the six chapters, three were written by members of the firm. Randy Kaardal wrote the chapter on "Labour and Employment Disputes" and John Hunter wrote chapters on "Practice and Procedure" and "Aboriginal Rights Litigation". John also wrote a chapter in Aboriginal Law Since Delogamuukw, published this month.
The Federation of Law Societies of Canada's Task Force on the Common Law Degree delivered its report to the Federation Council. After two years of consultation and three interim reports, the Task Force has recommended that provincial and territorial law societies adopt a national academic standard for entry into their bar admission programs and has set out a proposed standard of required skills, knowledge and values. The Task Force had members from eight of the provinces and was chaired by John Hunter.
We are very pleased to welcome Christine Joseph as an associate in our firm. Christine recently completed a judicial clerkship with the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Prior to that, she clerked for a year at the British Columbia Court of Appeal after graduating as Gold Medalist from the University of Victoria. Christine has been called to the bar of Ontario as well as British Columbia and will be practising in the areas of civil litigation and administrative law with us.
On September 8th, the British Columbia Court of Appeal handed down a long-awaited judgment dealing with the obligations of counsel when charging fees for commercial litigation. In Re Inmet Mining Corp., the Court of Appeal held that if counsel intend to bill monthly but reserve the right to charge a fair fee based on the result of the case, counsel have a fiduciary duty to advise their clients of the basis on which they intend to bill. John Hunter and Mark Oulton acted for the client in successfully challenging a $5 million dollar fee charged at the conclusion of lengthy litigation. The decision can be viewed at 2009 BCCA 385.
Jacquie Hughes has successfully defended an order for incarceration for civil contempt. Jail sentences are rare for civil as opposed to criminal contempt, but the Court of Appeal accepted her argument that the Defendant's actions in failing to comply with a court order freezing his assets merited a custodial sentence. The decision can be viewed at 2009 BCCA 349.
Mark Oulton and John Hunter obtained two favourable judgments this summer for the forest sector. On July 30, the British Columbia Supreme Court accepted their argument on behalf of Canadian Forest Products that section 2.4.1 of the Interior Appraisal Manual was ultra viresand quashed a decision of the Forest Appeals Commission imposing retroactive stumpage fees for changed circumstances. The Government and the Commission have advised that they will be seeking leave to appeal this decision, which can be viewed at 2009 BCSC 1040. Then on August 13, representing Western Forest Products, they obtained an order from the Court of Appeal restoring a decision of the Commission involving an interpretation of the Coast Appraisal Manual. This decision can be viewed at 2009 BCCA 354.
The 2009 edition of Best Lawyers in Canada has been published and once again lawyers from Hunter Litigation Chambers have been recognized in a wide range of areas, including Bet-the-Company Litigation (Bill Berardino), Corporate and Commercial Litigation (Bill Berardino, John Hunter, David Harris and Ken McEwan), Labour and Employment Law (Randy Kaardal), Natural Resources Law (John Hunter), Class Action Litigation (Bill Berardino and Ken McEwan), Director and Officer Liability (Bill Berardino), Administrative and Public Law (John Hunter and Randy Kaardal), Product Liability (Bill Berardino), Securities Law (Bill Berardino and Ken McEwan), Aboriginal law (John Hunter), Personal Injury Litigation (Bill Berardino) and Legal Malpractice Law (Bill Berardino).
Our firm has continued to expand its litigation team with the addition of Kim Knapp to our ranks. A 2000 call, Kim has worked as a junior litigator for a national firm since that time and has appeared as counsel in the superior courts in British Columbia and the Supreme Court of Canada. She will be working with us on research and analysis of complex litigation. We welcome her to our firm.
We are very pleased to welcome Randy Kaardal and Paul Heisler to our firm. Randy is one of British Columbia's leading barristers, with a particular expertise in labour and employment law, as well as administrative law. Randy has been a partner in one of Canada's largest national firms for 15 years. He has been recognized in Lexpert, the Chambers Global guide and the Best Lawyers in Canada directory for his knowledge and skill in the area of employment law.
Paul Heisler was called to the bar in British Columbia, after graduating from Queen's and the University of Victoria. He has worked in the areas of commercial litigation and employment law, and will carry on this practice with our firm.
On February 20, John Hunter presented a paper on British Columbia's new Continuing Professional Development program at a symposium in Toronto on Lifelong Learning in Professionalism sponsored by the Chief Justice of Ontario's Advisory Committee on Professionalism. Later in the month, he presented a paper on Recent Developments on Aboriginal Title at a conference in Vancouver under the auspices of the Pacific Business & Law Institute.
For the second year in a row, Hunter Litigation Chambers has been recognized as the leading litigation firm in British Columbia by the Lexpert Directory in their 2009 Who's Who in Canadian Law firms.
On January 22nd Peter Voith, one of the founding counsel of this firm, was appointed a justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Peter has been one of British Columbia's leading barristers for more than twenty-five years and will make a strong contribution to the administration of justice in this province. His friends at the firm congratulate him on this well-deserved honour.
John Hunter spoke at the 3rd Annual Symposium on the Teaching of Legal Ethics and Scholarship on January 16th in Montreal.