Summary

The work of our Public Law Litigation and Arbitration Group encompasses advice and litigation services in a variety of areas including constitutional law, administrative law, Aboriginal rights, professional discipline, judicial ethics and government contracts.  BLG has provided advice and litigation services to a diverse group of clients, including administrative tribunals, public officials and public inquiry commissioners.   

Our Public Law Litigation and Arbitration Group offers superior service to our clients by drawing on our professionals’ broad experience, knowledge and expertise in diverse focus areas of this practice. To ensure the development of comprehensive solutions and advice for our clients, our Group often collaborates with other practice areas of the Firm such as Appeal and Review, Aboriginal Law Group, Environmental Law, Government Relations, Labour and Employment, Municipal, and Privacy and Access to Information.

The experience of our Group’s members sets BLG ahead of the competition. In addition to arguing some of Canada's leading constitutional, administrative and Aboriginal cases before various levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, our members have written, presented and taught courses on public and administrative law. Leveraging our Group’s leadership status, BLG maintains a reputation of developing positive, long-term client relationships founded in excellent service.

Publications

  • Bredt, Pessione & Christie, “Applications for Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada,” The Commons Institute Forum on the Supreme Court and Constitutional Litigation, November 2012.
  • Bredt & Jordaan, “Recent Developments in the Law of Judicial Review,” The Canadian Institute’s Fundamentals of Administrative Law & Practice Conference, April 2012.
  • Bredt & Krajewska, “R. v. Conway: Unchartered Territory for Administrative Tribunals,” Osgoode PD, 2010 Constitutional Cases: The 14th Annual Analysis of the Constitutional Decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, April 2011.
  • Bredt & Zwibel, “The Standing of Administrative Tribunals on Judicial Review,” The Law Society of Upper Canada's "Six-Minute Administrative Lawyer" publication/session, February 2010. 

Rankings & Recognition

The Public Law Litigation and Arbitration Group or its members are:

  • In the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada®.
  • In the 2017 edition of Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory.
  • In the 2017 edition of Benchmark Canada — The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys.

Representative Work

Charter Challenges

  • Québec (Attorney General) v. A, 2013 SCC 5, whether provisions of the Civil Code of Québec dealing with family patrimony and obligations of spousal support infringe section 15 of the Charter because their application is limited to private legal relationships between married spouses and civil union spouses.
  • M. v. H., a section 15 case involving the equality rights of same-sex couples and the definition of “spouse” under Ontario's Family Law Act.
  • Morrow v. Zhang, a case concerning whether a cap on plaintiffs' non-pecuniary damages arising from motor vehicle accidents based on the type and severity of the injury is contrary to either s. 7 or s. 15 of the Charter.

Aboriginal Law

  • British Columbia (Ministry of Forests) v Okanagan Indian Band, on advanced costs in Aboriginal and public law litigation.

Representation of Public Officials and Judges before the Courts

  • Conrad Black v. Canada (Prime Minister), a case in which we acted for the Prime Minister and successfully protected his prerogative power to make decisions in respect of honours and foreign affairs without review by the courts.
  • Edwards v. Canada (Attorney General), in which we acted for the Chief Justice of Canada in a successful motion to quash a subpoena served on him on the grounds of judicial immunity.
  • Chrétien v. Canada (Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program, Gomery Commission), a case before the Federal Court in which we were successful, on behalf of the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, in having portions of the inquiry report quashed on the basis of reasonable apprehension of bias.

Regulatory and Public Work, including Judicial Review of Government Action

  • Representation of the Toronto Port Authority at the Federal Court in Air Canada’s challenge of the allocation of takeoff and landing slots at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
  • Children’s Lawyer for Ontario v Goodis, on the standing of administrative tribunals in judicial review proceedings.

Public Inquiries

  • Elliott Lake Inquiry: Counsel to Commissioner, Hon. Paul Bélanger.
  • Walkerton Inquiry: This inquiry looked into the contamination of the drinking water in the town of Walkerton, Ontario and into water safety more generally. We acted as counsel to Commissioner O'Connor.
  • Oliphant Inquiry: allegations respecting business and financial dealings between Karlheinz Schreiber and the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney. We acted for former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
  • Led commission to investigate the introduction and spread of SARS in Ontario. This inquiry considered the introduction and spread of SARS in the spring of 2003.
  • Inquiry into pediatric forensic pathology in Ontario.

Frequently represent the Canadian Civil Liberties Association as an intervener before the Supreme Court of Canada Chaoulli v. A.G. (Québec), a challenge to restrictions on private health insurance based on both the Canadian Charter and Québec Charter.

Lavigne v. OPSEU, a freedom of expression case challenging the use by unions of compelled dues for political and ideological purposes.