Brent B. Olthuis
Brent Olthuis is an experienced litigator with a broad practice in the areas of civil, commercial, administrative and constitutional law. He is identified in the London-based Chambers Global Guide as an up-and-coming talent in commercial litigation, and has been recognized in the annual publications of Benchmark Litigation and by Lexpert Magazine as a regional star.
Brent has appeared before all levels of court in British Columbia and Ontario, including in 10 appeals before the Supreme Court of Canada and over 35 before the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. In addition, he has conducted hearings before the trial courts in Alberta and Yukon Territory, the Tax Court of Canada, the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal, and various administrative tribunals including the BC Financial Services Tribunal, the BC Human Rights Tribunal and the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada. Brent is also experienced in the commercial arbitration setting.
Brent represents individual and corporate clients in civil and commercial matters ranging from disputes over property ownership to claims in negligence, breach of contract, breach of trust and fiduciary duty, and breach of privacy. Brent also regularly acts for regulated professions and their member professionals, as well as for other public bodies. In this connection, he has acted as external counsel to the Auditor General of Canada in respect of the 2015 audit of the Senate and other matters.
Brent has published peer-reviewed articles in the fields of aboriginal law, criminal practice and gaming law, and is author of the professional conduct chapter in a leading text on the practice of law in Canada. He has also authored and presented a number of papers at continuing legal education conferences, on diverse topics including administrative, criminal and constitutional law. Brent is also a regular faculty member for professional development offerings of The Advocates’ Society.
Brent currently serves as Director of the BC Law Institute and is a member of the Vancouver Bar Association, The Advocates’ Society, l’Association des juristes d’expression française de la Colombie-Britannique, the International Commission of Jurists Canada and the Canadian Bar Association, which he presently serves in the elected role of Provincial Council representative. Prior to entering practice, Brent served as law clerk to three Justices of the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Honourable Justice Frank Iacobucci of the Supreme Court of Canada.
H(M) v Legal Services Society, 2018 BCSC 195: Represented the Legal Services Society’s in a successful defence of a funding decision made in respect of the petitioner’s application for legal aid representation.
College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia v Tan, 2017 BCSC 2233: Obtained an injunction for the petitioner Health College, preventing the respondent and her company from providing mole-removal services while not licensed as a medical professional.
Democracy Watch v British Columbia (Conflict of Interest Commissioner), 2017 BCCA 366: Acted for the respondent Conflict of Interest Commissioner in proceedings seeking to challenge his opinion concerning certain activities of the then-Premier. The proceedings were dismissed with no impact on the Commissioner’s opinion.
Tracey v. Gokturk, 2017 BCSC 1813: Successfully represented a director of a technology company in a dispute arising out of a board deadlock over a proposed transaction.
Cowichan Tribes v. Canada (Attorney General), 2017 BCSC 1575: Represented the City of Richmond in an important application in a First Nations land claim, concerning the plaintiffs’ obligation to notify private landowners of their claim.
Aulakh v. Nahal, 2017 BCSC 1000: Represented the purchaser of residential real estate in Richmond, arguing successfully that the vendor had breached the contract of purchase and sale on the designated closing date.
Great Canadian Gaming Corp. v. British Columbia Lottery Corp., 2017 BCSC 574 (co-counsel with Mike Stephens): Represented the defendant in successful opposition to the plaintiff’s application to convert a conventional action to a class proceeding.
Brito v. Terry L. Napora Law Corp, 2016 BCSC 1476: Represented the Law Society to oppose the plaintiff’s application for a “Norwich Pharmacal order” to obtain discovery of the defendant lawyer’s client information.
Mann v. British Columbia (Insurance Council), 2015-FIA-002(a): Represented a licensed insurance agent in a disciplinary appeal that reduced the length of suspension by a factor of 6.
Google Inc. v. Mutual, 2016 BCSC 1169: Represented VideoShare LLC (plaintiff in Delaware proceedings against Google and others) in petition concerning deposition of a witness in British Columbia.
MM v. United States of America, 2015 SCC 62,  3 SCR 973: Intervened on behalf of the BC Civil Liberties Association in a case concerning the “double-criminality” requirement under the Extradition Act
British Columbia v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited, 2015 BCSC 1713: Represented Imperial Tobacco in successful application for production of documents from the federal government
Harrison v. Law Society of British Columbia, 2015 BCCA 258: Applied successfully to have an appeal dismissed as an abuse of process
College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia v. Fofie, 2015 BCSC 907: Obtained order for College of Physicians granting search and seizure powers in respect of a clinic offering aesthetic treatments
Sun West Financial Ltd. v. 0800978 BC Ltd, 2014 BCSC 2167: Applied successfully to have a foreclosure petition converted from summary proceedings into a trial
Haghdust v. British Columbia Lottery Corp., 2014 BCSC 1327: (co-counsel with Randy Kaardal and Shannon Ramsay): Defended, on behalf of the Lottery Corporation, a class action suit challenging its refusal to pay jackpots to self-excluded gamblers
John Doe v. Ontario (Finance), 2014 SCC 36,  2 SCR 3: Intervened on behalf of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association in a case concerning the “advice or recommendations of a public servant” exception to disclosure in access to information legislation
Reference re Senate Reform, 2014 SCC 32,  1 SCR 704: (co-counsel with John Hunter, Q.C., Claire Hunter and others): Represented amicus curiae in a proceeding concerning the process for amending the provisions in the Constitution concerning the Senate
College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia v. Shapoval, 2014 BCSC 505: Represented the College of Dental Surgeons in a successful prosecution for contempt of court, resulting in a penalty of 45 days’ imprisonment
Henry v. Canada (A.G.), 2014 BCCA 30, 53 BCLR (5th) 282: (co-counsel with Mark Oulton and Stephanie McHugh): Represented three clients in public-interest constitutional challenge to federal voter identification rules
Canada (A.G.) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72,  3 SCR 1101: Intervened on behalf of the BC Civil Liberties Association regarding the appropriate standard of causation in cases involving the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Insurance Corp. of British Columbia v. COPE, Local 378, 2012 BCSC 1244: Represented defendant in response to injunction application based on alleged breaches of ICBC’s intellectual property rights
Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. Alberta Teachers’ Association, 2011 SCC 61,  3 SCR 654: Intervened on behalf of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association in a case concerning the failure to comply with statutory time limits
Reference re Section 293 of the Criminal Code, 2011 BCSC 1588: Represented children’s rights advocacy groups in proceedings concerning the constitutionality of the provision criminalizing polygamy
Fuller v. Harper, 2010 BCCA 421, 9 BCLR (5th) 236: Successfully appealed from a trial order requiring client to transfer title to property in the Okanagan, based on an application of the presumption of resulting trust
R. v. Cunningham, 2010 SCC 10,  1 SCR 331: (co-counsel with John Hunter, Q.C.): Intervened on behalf of the Law Society of Yukon in a case concerning the ethical responsibilities of lawyers when determining whether to withdraw services
“Can We Make It Any Clearer? BC’s Experience with Legislated Standards of Review”, prepared for and presented at the Ontario Bar Association administrative law conference “Ten Years Later: Coherence and Consistency In Administrative Practice Post-Dunsmuir”, Toronto, ON, 6 February 2018
"Shutting Down the Charlatan (or, Policing Unauthorized Practice)", prepared for and presented at the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC's Self-Governing Professions conference, Vancouver, BC, 2 June 2017
"The ‘Outermost Reaches’ of Negligence: Gaming and the Duty to Protect" (2015) 8 Canadian Gaming Lawyer 4
"On the Front Cover: Jeremy Webber" (2014) 72 Advocate 179
"Meanwhile, On The West Coast..." (2012) 2(2) Class Act (Ontario Bar Association, Class Action Section)
"Criminal Investigators in Municipal Functionaries' Clothing?: The Safety Standards Act and Controlled Substances Bylaws", prepared for and presented at the Trial Lawyers’ Association of British Columbia’s Contemporary Criminal Law conference, Vancouver, BC, 23 September 2011
"Life, Liberty and Security of the Person as Generalized Human Rights: A Section 7 Redux", prepared for and presented at the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC’s Human Rights Conference, Vancouver, BC, 25 November 2011
"The Constitution’s Peoples: Approaching Community in the Context of Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982" (2009) 54 McGill L.J. 1
"Professional Conduct" in Dodek & Hoskins, eds., Canadian Legal Practice (formerly Barristers & Solicitors in Practice, 2d ed.) (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2009), c 3 [ongoing update to looseleaf publication]
"Civil Procedure: Court Rules" in Susan Munro et al, Annual Review of Law & Practice (Vancouver: Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia: 2008) 43 (with M Oulton, S McHugh, and S Ramsay)
"Disclosure of Electronic Information: R. v. Cassidy" Note (2004) 49 Crim LQ 287
"Defrosting Delgamuukw" (2001) 12 National Journal of Constitutional Law 385
Brent serves on the Board of Directors for the BC Law Institute, a not-for-profit law reform agency working to improve and modernize the law. Brent also sits on the Provincial Council of the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch and was from August 2013 until August 2015 the co-chair of the CBABC’s Administrative Law Section. He was a member of the CBA national working group that produced the Review of Judicial Conduct Process of the Canadian Judicial Council in July 2014.
In 2015, Brent completed The Advocates’ Society skills instructor training programme in Toronto and is a regular volunteer for local TAS workshops in Vancouver.
Beyond contributions to the profession, Brent has been a generous contributor of pro bono legal services to the BC public. He also canvassed for many years as part of the Canadian Cancer Society’s “Daffodil Campaign” and is involved as a volunteer with the North Shore Female Ice Hockey Association, the North Vancouver Minor Hockey Association and the North Vancouver Spring Flag Football League.
While a law student, Brent participated in student governance, serving as president of his third year LL.B. class at McGill and a Students’ Representative on the Graduate Studies Committee while at UVic.
Awards and Recognition
Awards & Recognition
Brent has been recognized in the 2018 version of Chambers Canada's publication Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business as an "Up and Coming" lawyer in British Columbia's commercial litigation sector. Benchmark Canada’s annual guide lists Brent as a “Litigation Star” and in 2016 he was one of five finalists across the country for Benchmark's Emerging Talent of the Year award.
In 2012, Lexpert Magazine selected Brent as a "Rising Star (Leading Lawyers Under 40)". Since then, Lexpert has named him as a "US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyer to Watch".
Brent was named "Lawyer of the Year"for Access Pro Bono’s Judicial Review Roster programme in 2008 and the following year received APB’s general "Lawyer of the Year"award. In addition, Hunter Litigation Chambers has been the recipient of numerous pro bono awards arising out of Brent’s work: in 2010, the firm received a Lexpert Zenith Award for "Political Pro Bono" related to Brent’s representation of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association in judicial review proceedings, and in 2011, it received a Zenith Award for "Pro Bono by Team or Firm" for work on the Polygamy Reference.
While a law student, Brent was the recipient of multiple scholarships and awards, and made the Dean’s Honour List in each year of studies.
Brent Olthuis and Trevor Bant represented the Legal Services Society in a successful defence of a funding decision. A copy of the decision can be found here.
The Ontario Bar Association invited Brent Olthuis to sit on a standard of review panel at its Administrative Law conference “Ten Years Later: Coherence and Consistency In Administrative Practice Post-Dunsmuir”. Brent presented his paper “Can We Make It Any Clearer?” concerning BC’s experience with legislated standards of review in the Administrative Tribunals Act. The Conference agenda is available here, and Brent’s paper here.
Brent Olthuis and Mark Oulton acted as volunteer guest instructors for the Mock Civil Trial portion of UBC Allard Law’s Allan McEachern Course in Trial Advocacy, for which Bill Smart is one of three adjunct faculty instructors.
Hunter Litigation Chambers has again been listed as one of the three top dispute resolution firms in British Columbia by the influential Chambers Guide 2018. Randy Kaardal, Q.C., Michael Stephens, Mark Oulton, Brent Olthuis and Claire Hunter were identified as leading litigation practitioners in the Guide.
Brent Olthuis and Trevor Bant represented the British Columbia Conflict of Interest Commissioner in an appeal challenging an opinion the Commissioner rendered concerning the certain activities of the former Premier. The appeal was dismissed for reasons that can be found here.
>Brent Olthuis successfully represented a director of a Vancouver tech company in a board dispute, obtaining an award of costs in his client’s favour. A copy of the decision is available here.
Brent Olthuis moderated a panel discussion, “Latest Development in Legal Privilege and FOI”, at the BC Information Summit event. The conference agenda can be found here.
Brent Olthuis and Trevor Bant represented the City of Richmond in an important application in a First Nations land claim, concerning the plaintiffs’ obligation to notify private landowners of their claim. A copy of the judgment can be found here.
Brent Olthuis presented his paper “Shutting Down the Charlatan (Or, Policing Unauthorized Practice)” at the CLEBC’s June 2, 2017 course “Self-Governing Professions”.
Brent Olthuis and Greg Allen represented the purchaser of residential real estate in Richmond, arguing successfully that the vendor had breached the contract of purchase and sale on the designated closing date. A copy of the decision can be found here.
Brent Olthuis (with Michael Stephens) successfully opposed an application seeking to convert a conventional commercial dispute into a class action in Great Canadian Gaming Corporation v British Columbia Lottery Corporation, 2017 BCSC 574. The decision considered a point that had not previously been resolved in British Columbia, and determined that it would be inappropriate to convert these plaintiffs’ action into a class proceeding.
Brent Olthuis and David McEwan were successful in an application to set aside an ex parte pre-judgment garnishing order in a claim alleging misrepresentation, breach of trust, and civil theft. In the result, a large quantity of the clients’ funds were released from court.
Brent Olthuis has been appointed as a Director of the BC Law Institute (BCLI) from October 2016 to October 2019.
Brent Olthuis represented the Law Society of British Columbia in a successful defence of solicitor-client confidentiality where a plaintiff sought client information from a deceased lawyer. The reasons for judgment are available here.
Brent Olthuis represented a licensed insurance agent in an administrative appeal from disciplinary proceedings. In the result, the licensee’s suspension was reduced from one year to two months. The reasons for judgment are available here.
Brent Olthuis and Brian Duong represented VideoShare LLC, the plaintiff in Delaware proceedings alleging patent infringement by Google Inc. and others, in proceedings brought in British Columbia concerning the deposition of a witness. The reasons for judgment are available The reasons for judgment are available here.
Hunter Litigation Chambers was nominated as British Columbia firm of the year. The firm has once again been identified in the current Benchmark 2016 as "Highly Recommended", the highest category in the Benchmark listing. Ken, John Hunter, Q.C., Randy Kaardal, Q.C., Bill Smart, Q.C.,Michael Stephens and Brent are recognized as "Local Litigation Stars", while Claire Hunter is listed under "Future Stars".
Ken McEwan, Q.C. co-chaired the Advocates Society Civil Advocacy Trial College, a skills-based trial advocacy program held in Vancouver on November 5-6, 2015. Brent Olthuis was a member of the faculty, conducted a mock cross-examination and assisted in providing feedback to the participants. Ken is a director of the Advocates Society and Emily Kirkpatrick is a member of the Society's National Standards Committee.
The UK-based Chambers Guide has for the first time published a guide focussed on Canada. Hunter Litigation Chambers was listed on the top rank in Dispute Resolution, and four of our counsel, John Hunter, Q.C., Ken McEwan, Q.C., Mike Stephens and Brent Olthuis, were identified as leading practitioners in Dispute Resolution. John was also recognized in the field of Aboriginal Law.
Brent Olthuis has been elected to the Provincial Council of the Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch). Brent has recently been acting as external counsel to the Auditor General of Canada in respect of the audit of the Senate.
Ken McEwan, Q.C. and Brent Olthuis were members of the faculty of the Advocates' Society "Evidence That Wins" programme on April 15. Ken was co-chair of the programme with Mr. Justice Skolrood of the British Columbia Supreme Court.
Benchmark Canada has announced its annual awards, and for the third straight year Ken McEwan, Q.C. has been recognized as British Columbia Litigator of the Year. Ken was also nominated for Canadian Trial Lawyer of the Year and Canadian Competition Lawyer of the Year. Hunter Litigation Chambers was nominated for British Columbia firm of the year, Canadian class action firm of the year and Canadian litigation boutique firm of the year and continues to be designated as "highly recommended", the highest category in the Benchmark listing. Ken, John Hunter, Q.C., Randy Kaardal, Q.C., Bill Smart, Q.C. and Mike Stephens are included as "Local Litigation Stars" while Brent Olthuis and Claire Hunter have been recognized as "Future Stars." Brent was also nominated for emerging talent of the year in Canada.
Brent Olthuis was in the news recently in connection with his representation of three B.C. voters who have been challenging the federal voter identification rules. Read more
Mike Stephens and Mark Oulton successfully defended the British Columbia Lottery Corporation in an action brought by a member of BCLC's Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program in Ross v. British Columbia Lottery Corporation, 2014 BCSC 320. The decision is the first of its kind in Canada to consider whether a casino operator owes a duty of care to a member of a voluntary self-exclusion program. In its decision the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that there was no negligence in BCLC's operation of the voluntary self-exclusion program, and also dismissed claims brought against BCLC on grounds of unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty. Brent Olthuis and Shannon Ramsay also participated in the trial resulting in the judgment.
Ken McEwan, Q.C. and John Hunter, Q.C. were recognized by Lexpert as leading corporate-commercial practitioners in that company's 2013 Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada. Brent Olthuis was identified as one of Lexpert's "US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers to Watch."
We are very pleased to announce that Claire Hunter and Gib van Ert have accepted our invitation to become Counsel with the firm. They will join Bill Berardino, Q.C., John Hunter, Q.C., Ken McEwan, Q.C., Randy Kaardal, Michael Stephens, Mark Oulton, Brent Johnston and Brent Olthuis in that capacity with the firm. Congratulations to both!
John Hunter, Q.C., Brent Olthuis and Claire Hunter appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada on the Senate Reform Reference the week of November 12. The Reference concerned the interpretation of the constitutional amending formula in respect to reform of the Senate. Mr. Hunter was appointed amicus curiae to the Court, along with Daniel Jutras, Dean of Law at McGill Law School.
Brent Olthuis was in the news recently as counsel for the B.C. College of Dental Surgeons in connection with a contempt hearing. Read more
Benchmark Canada, a third party directory that describes itself as "the Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys" has released its 2013 edition and again Hunter Litigation Chambers is listed in the top category for British Columbia. The Guide identifies Michael Stephens, Randy Kaardal, Ken McEwan, Q.C., John Hunter, Q.C. and Bill Berardino, Q.C. as "Local Litigation Stars" and Brent Olthuis as one of BC's "Future Stars".
Brent Olthuis was in the news in connection with his work as counsel on an appeal from a second degree murder conviction: Read more
December 2012We are very pleased to announce that Brent Olthuis has been honoured as a "Lexpert Rising Star: Leading Lawyers Under 40." These awards are presented annually to leading lawyers across Canada under the age of 40 who are considered rising stars in the Canadian legal community. Lexpert selects the finalists based on criteria including the candidates' legal talent, business acumen, major accomplishments, interpersonal skills and the views of their peers, and an advisory board votes on the winning candidates.
Brent Olthuis has published an article on waiver of tort in class actions in the Ontario Bar Association's Class Action Newsletter: "Meanwhile, On The West Coast" (2012) 2(2) Class Act. Read the article here.
Another third party directory has published its list of leading litigation firms and Hunter Litigation Chambers is again recognized in the top tier of litigation firms in British Columbia. Benchmark Canada, describing itself as "The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys", identifies Michael Stephens, Randy Kaardal, Ken McEwan, Q.C., John Hunter, Q.C. and Bill Berardino, Q.C. as "Local Litigation Stars" and Brent Olthuis as one of BC's "Future Stars".
We are very pleased to announce that Brent Johnston and Brent Olthuis have accepted our invitation to become Counsel with the firm, effective March 1. They will join Bill Berardino, Q.C., John Hunter, Q.C., Ken McEwan, Q.C., Randy Kaardal, Michael Stephens and Mark Oulton in that capacity with the firm. Congratulations to both!
Once again, we have the pleasure of welcoming a new addition to our growing firm. Brent Olthuis has joined the firm to work as a litigation associate. Brent graduated first in his class at McGill Law School in 2000 and then clerked with first the Ontario Court of Appeal and then Justice Iacobucci in the Supreme Court of Canada. He was called to the bar in Ontario in 2001 and practised commercial litigation with a national firm in Ottawa for two years before returning to British Columbia in 2005, when he was called to the British Columbia bar. After receiving a Master's degree from the University of Victoria in 2006, Brent practiced with a litigation boutique before joining Hunter Litigation Chambers. We are pleased to have him with us to continue his practice in civil litigation and administrative law.