Class actions can broach all areas of law and, in Canada, have become more and more prevalent. With Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) alone acting in more than 90 ongoing class-action cases, litigators are asking: will this number continue to rise?

The number of class actions in Canada will rise as plaintiff firms become increasingly imaginative in seeking opportunities to sue, says Brad Dixon, a partner in the Vancouver office of BLG.

In British Columbia, he says, "our court of appeal has taken a pretty liberal approach and I think it's opened the door to the possibility of more certification applications. Another thing we see, which is interesting for me as defence counsel, increasingly we see lawyers searching out possible issues and generating claims," he says.

"These proceedings have always been a part of the public policy landscape, but it is becoming more overt and more sophisticated."

However, says Tim Buckley, a partner in the Toronto office of BLG, most class-action cases are settled and few have reached the trial stage.

"We're in a bit of a honeymoon period. There have not been many class-action trials and trials can be expensive and lengthy. So it will be interesting to see if that dissuades some plaintiff counsel from bringing class actions after we see what the trial experience is on these matters."