Michael Skene

Michael A. Skene  


Executive Summary

Michael Skene is a partner in our Vancouver office. Michael practises in the areas of construction and surety law, media law and defamation, and commercial litigation. He has extensive experience in substantial construction disputes of all kinds, representing sureties, owner-developers, contractors, subtrades, and lenders. He has successfully represented clients before various tribunals, provincial and superior courts, and in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Michael also has extensive experience in all aspects of media and defamation law, including pre-broadcast and pre-publication advice, obtaining access to court documents, setting aside publication bans, and pursuing and defending libel claims. The resolution of various commercial disputes through litigation, arbitration and mediation comprises the remainder of his practice.

Representative Work

Construction & Surety Law

  • Michael defended a Canadian Joint Venture against a $1.1 billion arbitration that arose after the successful construction of a mineral processing facility.  Our team of 75 BLG timekeepers (13 partners, 15 associates, 12 students, 9 paralegals, and many eDiscovery, Litigation Support, Library, Document Production and other staff) worked with numerous client personnel and in-house counsel in various locations, and with eight expert witnesses, insurers and reinsurers.  The details of the settlement in December 2016 are confidential.  BLG achieved a great result in a timely and efficient way.
  • Seymour Capilano Twin Tunnels Project; counsel for the general contractor and its sureties pursuing and defending complex tunneling engineering and geotechnical claims and claims of builders lien (project value $400+ million).
  • Brilliant Expansion Project; counsel for the general contractor pursuing complex construction claims (project value $116+ million).
  • Lulu Island and Annacis Island Wastewater Treatment Plants; counsel for the general contractor in complex delay and productivity claims against the owner and engineers, and in numerous contract, tort, builders’ lien and trust claims against subtrades and suppliers (project value $280+ million).
  • Sky Train Millennium Line; counsel for an international consortium pursuing significant delay and productivity claims (project value 272+ million).
  • UBC Thunderbird Student Housing; counsel for contractor and surety pursuing delay and productivity claims and defending water-ingress claims with respect to a ten-building project.
  • UBC Chan Centre; counsel for contractor pursuing delay and productivity claims.

Media Law & Defamation

  • R. v. Malik and Bagri (Air India); various media applications for print and television media.
  • R. v. Pickton; successfully opposed an application by the accused to close the courtroom to the public and to the media.
  • R. v. Trott, R. v. Ertmoed; obtained access to court files regarding videotaped confessions in murder cases.
  • Anumba v. The Minister of Employment and Immigration; set aside publication ban and court closure regarding refugee claimant fearing persecution by headhunters.
  • Ironworkers Local 97 v. Gordon Campbell, the Liberal Party of BC, Southam Inc. and Brian Kieran; defence co-counsel in a libel claim resulting in dismissal of claim following trial.

Publications & Presentations

Construction & Surety Law

  • "Delay Claims – Theory and Practice" (15 December 2015), Affinity Institute Seminar for Translink (New Westminster).
  • “Bonds” chapter annual update in B.C. Builders Lien Practice Manual (CLE BC) (1999-2017) (with D.H. Laudan).
  • “Preparing Delay Claims,” Affinity Institute Conference, November 2013.
  • “Risk Allocation and Claims on Canadian P3 Projects,” BLG Construction Engineering Surety and Fidelity Practice Group Client Seminar, June 2013.
  • “Risk Allocation in Canadian Public Private Partnerships” chapter, Review of Construction Law: Recent Developments, Carswell, 2012.
  • "Emerging Issues in Construction Law,” Canadian Construction Association Annual Conference, Hawaii, March 2011.
  • “Construction in Challenging Times: Insolvency, Pre-Sales, Warranties, Priorities and Strategies to Manage Default Risks,” CLE BC Construction Law Conference, Vancouver, April 2010.
  • “Bonds and Subcontractor Default Insurance,” MMPI Construction Law Conference, Calgary, April 2008.
  • “Setting Up the Successful Request for Proposals,” The Canadian Institute Public Procurement Conference, Vancouver, January 2008 (with D.R. Sanders).
  • “Recent Trends in Construction Liability,” Government of the NWT Project Management Conference, Yellowknife, November 2007.
  • “Construction Securities and Bonding,” Government of the NWT Project Management Conference, Yellowknife, November 2007.
  • “Managing Schedules and Delays,” Pacific Business and Law Institute Conference, Vancouver, November 2007.
  • “Managing and Resolving Construction Disputes,” Seminar for BC Hydro, June 2007.
  • “The World After Lac La Ronge,” Surety Association of Canada Annual General Meeting, Toronto, September 2005.
  • “Strategies to Avoid and Resolve Construction Disputes,” Canadian Construction Association Annual Conference, Orlando, Florida, March 2001.
  • “Update on the new Act,” Canadian Bar Association Builders’ Lien Seminar, Real Property Section (BC Branch), March 1998.
  • “Commercial Litigation Beyond the Pale:  A Comparison of Extraterritorial Anti-Suit and Mareva Jurisdiction Exercised by the Courts of England and British Columbia in Commercial Disputes,” 30UBC Law Review, 1996.

Media Law & Defamation

  • Canadian Defamation Verdicts: 2016 Update (4-5 November 2016) ", Ad Idem National Media Law Conference, Halifax (with R.L.E. Davis).
  • Canadian Defamation Verdicts: 2015 Update (13-14 November 2015) ", Ad Idem National Media Law Conference, Toronto (with R.L.E. Davis).
  • "Biggest Legal Pitfalls for Reporters," BCIT School of Journalism (Advanced Journalism Course), 27 November 2015.
  • "Search Warrants, Production Orders and Regulatory Investigative Orders", BLG U In-House Counsel Professional Development Series, 29 September 2015.
  • Defamation and Media Law Conference (21 November 2014), Course Co-Chair with D.A. Crerar, and presenter, "Media and Defamation Issues in Reporting Major News Stories", (Continuing Legal Education Society of BC)​.
  • "Canadian Defamation Verdicts: 2014 Update (14-15 November 2014)", Ad Idem National Media Law Conference, Montréal (with R.L.E. Davis).
  • "Canadian Defamation Verdicts: 2013 Update", Ad Idem National Media Law Conference, Vancouver, November 2013 (with R.L.E. Davis).
  • “Defamation Law in Labour and Employment Contexts”, BLG Labour and Employment Law Practice Group Seminar, June 2013.
  • Media Law Seminar – Pre-broadcast Advice”, Law Society of British Columbia and The Jack Webster Foundation, May 2013.
  • “Canadian Defamation Verdicts: 2012 Update”, Ad Idem National Media Law Conference, Toronto, 2-3 November 2012 (with R.L.E. Davis).
  • "Canadian Defamation Verdicts: Annual Update”, Ad Idem National Media Law annual two-day conferences, Montréal, November 2011 (with C.L. Leggett) and Toronto, November 2007-10 (with E.A. Cooke).
  • "More Protection from Liability to Website Owners”, BLG Commercial Litigation Alert, October 2011 (with C.L. Leggett and D.A. Crerar).
  • "Continuing the Fight to Access Court Exhibits Across Canada”, Ad Idem National Media Law website and BLG Media Law Client Update, November 2010 (with D.A. Crerar and J.J. Locke).
  • “How Much Trouble are You in When You Cannot Prove What You Published? Recent Applications of the New Responsible Communication Defence in BC”, BLG Media Law Client Update, June 2010 (with J.J. Locke).
  • “Responsible Communication: The New Libel Defence”, Radio and Television News Directors Association Conference, Vancouver, June 2010.
  • “New Defamation Defence of Responsible Communication on Matters of Public Interest”, BLG Media & Defamation Commercial Litigation E-Alert, January 2010 (with D.A. Crerar).
  • “Hyperlinks to Defamatory Material: Avoiding Liability”, The Lawyers Weekly, November 2009 (with D.A. Crerar).
  • “Hyperlinks to Defamatory Material on Other Websites May Expose Website Owners to Liability in Defamation”, The Lawyers Weekly and Internet & E-Commerce Law Inc. Canada, November 2009 (with D.A. Crerar).
  • “Defamation and Contempt: Responsible Journalism,” Canadian Press, Vancouver, November 2009.
  • “Contempt, Publication Bans and Youth Offender Reporting”, CTV News, Vancouver, September 2009.
  • “Managing Risk in News Broadcasts”, CTV News, Vancouver, May 2008.
  • “Public Interest in the Pursuit of Defamation”, Canadian Association of Journalists’ publication, Media, Spring 2007 (with D.A. Crerar).
  • “Recent Developments in Defamation Law”, The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, May 2007 (with D.A. Crerar).
  • “Trend Set Toward Larger Awards for Defamation of Corporations”, The Lawyers Weekly, April 2007 (with D.A. Crerar).
  • “Access to Court Documents”, UBC School of Journalism, October 2006.
  • “The Year in Review: Publication Bans, Sealing Orders, Contempt and the YCJ Act”, Ad Idem National Media Law Conference, Halifax, 11-12 November 2005.
  • "Managing Defamation Risk: Pre-Broadcast and Pre-Publication Advice for Journalists”, UBC School of Journalism, October 2004.
  • “Journalists, Confidential Sources and the Security of Information Act”, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Forum (as part of Freedom to Read Week), Vancouver, February 2004.
  • “Search Warrants and the Media”, UBC School of Journalism, January 2004.

Rankings & Recognitions