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Gib van Ert

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Gib is currently on a two-year leave of absence from Hunter Litigation Chambers while he serves as Executive Legal Officer to the Chief Justice of Canada, the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin.

Gib van Ert has a broad civil litigation practice with an emphasis on real estate, commercial disputes and public law. He regularly appears before the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the BC Court of Appeal, and has also appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal and private arbitrations.

In real estate matters, Gib acted for the plaintiff in the first successful cost-recovery action under the Environmental Management Act by a residential property-owner, and has since frequently acted for and advised homeowners on claims arising from underground oil storage tanks and soil contamination. He also has experience in adverse possession claims, boundary disputes, trespass actions, latent defect claims including those arising from undisclosed marijuana grow-ops, and professional negligence claims against real estate agents.

In commercial matters, Gib has acted in shareholder disputes (both before the courts and in arbitration), breach of contract claims, fraud actions and wills variation claims concerning large estates.

In public law matters, Gib has acted in judicial review proceedings, represented the BC Civil Liberties Association and the Law Society, and advised on a variety of regulatory matters.

In addition to his day-to-day practice, Gib is the author of Using International Law in Canadian Courts (1st ed. 2002, 2nd ed. 2008), an annual contributor to the Canadian Yearbook of International Law and an author of many articles and other works on the domestic application of international law. He has been a visiting scholar at the Lauterpacht Research Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge, a visiting professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa and a sessional instructor in public international law at the University of Victoria. He is a frequent speaker on international law topics at academic and professional conferences around the country.

Gib served as law clerk to the Hon. Jo-Ann Prowse of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia (2001-2002) and for the Hon. Charles Gonthier of the Supreme Court of Canada (2003).

Gib is a director of the International Commission of Jurists Canada, a faculty member of the Philippe Kirsch Institute, and a member of the Canadian Council on International Law, the American Society of International Law, the Advocates’ Society and the Association des juristes d’expression française de la Colombie-Britannique.

Notable Cases

Notable Cases

Pascall v. Aldred 2014 BCSC 328: Gib successfully resisted an appeal from a Provincial Court decision awarding damages for trespass to a residential property.

Divito v. Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness) 2013 SCC 47: Gib intervened on behalf of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association in this appeal concerning prisoners' mobility rights and the interpretation of the Charter in light of Canada's international legal obligations.

Prescient Foundation v. Minister of National Revenue 2013 FCA 120: Gib was counsel for the charity in this appeal from the Minister of National Revenue's decision to revoke its charitable status. The decision was significant for the charitable sector as the Federal Court of Appeal gave important guidance on the standard of review in revocation appeals and CRA's ability to revoke charitable status on the ground of inadequate books and records.

British Columbia Lottery Corporation v. Dyson 2013 BCSC 11; British Columbia Lottery Corporation v. Skelton 2013 BCSC 12: Gib was co-counsel with Michael Stephens in these successful judicial reviews of decisions of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

Phillips v. Keefe 2012 BCCA 123, 2010 BCSC 2005: Gib was co-counsel with Michael Stephens in this dispute over a property line in Delta. The central issue was whether the traditional surveyor's hierarchy of evidence was displaced by section 23 of the Land Title Act. The Court of Appeal upheld the award of compensatory damages against the defendant for tearing down a fence that had long marked the boundary line between the properties.

Gulston v. Aldred 2010 BCSC 241, 2011 BCCA 147: This was a dispute between the buyer and seller of a residential property which had been contaminated by a leaking underground oil storage tank. Gib successfully represented the seller at the trial court and in the Court of Appeal.

Aldred v. Colbeck 2010 BCSC 57: Gib successfully represented a homeowner who sued the previous owners of her property to recover losses caused by a leaking underground oil storage tank. The decision is one of the few successful claims under the Environmental Management Act and the first to permit a residential property-owner to recover remediation costs under it.

ASEAN Technology Partners Inc. v. National Research Council 2009 BCCA 126, 2007 BCSC 1539: Gib was counsel for the plaintiff at summary trial and on appeal in this claim against a federal Crown Corporation for breaches of three contracts. The trial court found the defendant liable. The Court of Appeal dismissed the defendant's appeal.

Gogol v. British Columbia (Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal) 2008 BCSC 489: Gib was counsel for an injured worker in this judicial review of a decision concerning his eligibility for temporary disability benefits. The court found that the tribunal's decision was patently unreasonable and remitted it to the tribunal for reconsideration.

Law Society v. Hanson 2006 BCSC 1993: Gib acted for the Law Society of British Columbia in this assessment of special costs arising from contempt proceedings against a disbarred lawyer. Gib obtained a significant assessment award without waiving the Law Society's solicitor-client privilege over the file.

Publications

Publications

"Torture and the Supreme Court of Canada" (2014) 65 University of New Brunswick Law Journal 21

"Three Obstacles to a Successful Cost Recovery Action in Residential Oil Tank Cases" (2014) 72:4 The Advocate 503

"National Courts and the International Rule of Law" (book review of A. Nollkaemper's book of the same name) [2011] Canadian Yearbook of International Law 632

Chapter four, "Canada" in D. Sloss, ed., The Role of Domestic Courts in Treaty Enforcement: A Comparative Study (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Using International Law in Canadian Courts, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2008)

"What is reception law?" in O. Fitzgerald (ed), The Globalized Rule of Law: Relationships between International and Domestic Law (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2006) 85

"Labour Conventions and Comprehensive Claim Agreements: A New Model for Subfederal Participation in Canadian International Treaty-Making" (with S. Matiation) in O. Fitzgerald (ed), The Globalized Rule of Law: Relationships between International and Domestic Law (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2006)

"The Admissibility of International Legal Evidence" (2005) 84 Canadian Bar Review 31

International Human Rights Law (with M. Freeman) (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2004)

"The legal character of provincial agreements with foreign governments" (2001) 24 Les Cahiers de Droit 1093-1124

"Using treaties in Canadian courts" [2000] Canadian Yearbook of International Law 3-87

"Nationality, State succession, and the right of option: the case of Quebec" [1998] Canadian Yearbook of International Law 151-180

News

News

October 2015

Gib van Ert was on the faculty of CLEBC’s course, “A Litigator’s Arsenal 2015”. His presentation, entitled “Point of law applications: pointless or entirely pointy?” explained how and when to invoke a rarely-used provision of the Supreme Court Civil Rules, Rule 9-4.

August 2015

The Chief Justice of Canada, The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., has announced the appointment of Gib van Ert, counsel with Hunter Litigation Chambers, to the position of Executive Legal Officer of the Supreme Court of Canada. Gib will join the Chambers of the Chief Justice on August 24, 2015, for a two-year term. In announcing the appointment, the Chief Justice said: "Mr. van Ert brings to the position a broad range of experience and talents as legal counsel and as a distinguished scholar, which will serve the Court well in the coming years".

June 2015

We are pleased to announce that Gib van Ert has been appointed Executive Legal Officer to the Chief Justice of Canada, the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin. Gib will begin work at the Supreme Court of Canada in August 2015 for a two-year term. The Executive Legal Officer acts as principal advisor to the Chief Justice and is responsible for media relations at the Court. Gib will be taking a leave of absence from Hunter Litigation Chambers commencing in August. We wish him well and will look forward to his return at the end of his appointment.

May 2015

Gib van Ert gave two presentations at a conference sponsored by the Philippe Kirsch Institute on “Effective Use of International Law before Canadian Courts” Gib spoke on “Reception law basics” (an overview of how public international law is received in Canadian law and “Judicial review of international legal questions” (where he argued for a correctness standard of review in ministerial and tribunal decisions involving questions of international law).

On May 29, 2015 Gib van Ert spoke at Laval University in Quebec City in honour of the career of former Supreme Court of Canada justice Louis LeBel. Gib's paper, "Portes et fenêtres: Louis LeBel et l'approche québécoise à l'interprétation des lois à la lumière du droit international" will be published in a forthcoming volume of Les cahiers de droit.

December 2014

Gib van Ert spoke at the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC's 2014 Residential Real Estate Conference and presented a paper on Oil Tanks and Residential Conveyancing.

September 2014

Gib van Ert has been elected to the board of the International Commission of Jurists (Canada Section). The ICJ was established in 1952 to ensure the progressive development and effective implementation of international human rights and international humanitarian law, to secure the realization of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, to safeguard the separation of powers and to guarantee the independence of the judiciary and legal profession.

July 2014

Gib van Ert has published an article entitled “Three Obstacles to a Successful Cost Recovery Action in Residential Oil Tank Cases” in the July 2014 edition of The Advocate. The article can be viewed here.

November 2013

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!

Gib van Ert participated as a panellist at the annual Canadian Council of International Law conference in Ottawa on 14-16 November. He spoke on the topics "La création pluraliste du droit international contemporain" and "Domestic Implementation of International Law".

October 2013

Gib van Ert has been invited to join the faculty of the Philippe Kirsch Institute. The Philippe Kirsch Institute offers specialized continuing legal education in the areas of criminal, civil, immigration, human rights, and international law. Other faculty members of the Institute include three former Supreme Court of Canada justices (Hon. Ian Binnie, Hon. Frank Iacobucci, and Hon. Michel Bastarache), leading Canadian legal academics, and well-known Canadian litigation counsel.

On October 22, Gib van Ert participated on a discussion panel on international law and its impact on Canadian law at the University of New Brunswick Faculty of Law, in conjunction with the faculty's annual Viscount Bennett Memorial Lecture Series. This year's lecturer is Mr. Justice LeBel of the Supreme Court of Canada.

February 2013

Gib van Ert represented the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association in the Supreme Court of Canada in a case concerning the constitutional right of Canadian citizens to enter Canada.

March 2012

Michael Stephens and Gib van Ert have succeeded in an appeal from a judgment they obtained at trial concerning a dispute over a property line in Delta. The central issue was whether the traditional surveyor's hierarchy of evidence was displaced by section 23 of the Land Title Act. The Court of Appeal upheld the award of compensatory damages against the defendant for tearing down a fence that had long marked the boundary line between the properties. The appeal is reported as Phillips v. Keefe 2012 BCCA 123.

March 2011

Gib van Ert has successfully defended a judgment for breach of contract in the Court of Appeal. The case arises from a homeowner's attempt to sell her home after discovering property contamination caused by a leaking underground oil storage tank. The buyer refused to complete the purchase and sued the homeowner, who counterclaimed for breach of contract. The summary trial judgment in favour of the homeowner is Gulston v. Aldred 2010 BCSC 241. The judgment of the court of appeal dismissing the buyer's appeal can be found at 2011 BCCA 147  The amount of damages owing remains to be determined.

May 2010

Gib van Ert gave a presentation on the use of international law in Canadian domestic courts to the appellate judges attending at the National Judicial Institute’s Appellate Courts Seminar, which took place in association with the centenary celebrations for the British Columbia Court of Appeal in April. John Hunter, Q.C. gave a presentation to the judges on the role of the courts in aboriginal rights litigation.

January 2010

Gib van Ert successfully represented a homeowner who sued the previous owners of her property to recover losses caused by a leaking underground oil storage tank. The homeowner claimed she was induced to purchase the property by the previous owners' negligent misrepresentation concerning the oil tank. She also claimed that the previous owners were liable for the cost of remediation by virtue of the Environmental Management Act, S.B.C. 2003, c. 53. The judgment can be found at 2010 BCSC 57.

From January 4-22,  2010 Gib was a visiting professor in the Common Law (French) section of the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. He taught the course "Études en droit international : l'utilisation du droit international devant les tribunaux canadiens" (Studies in international law: using international law in Canadian courts).

December 2009

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.

November 2008

Gib van Ert has published the second edition of his book, Using International Law in Canadian Courts. As described by his publisher, Irwin Law, this work "sets out to provide Canadian practitioners and legal academics with a straightforward guide to using international law in Canadian courts and tribunals". Full details can be found at the Irwin Law website.

September 2008

Gib van Ert has published an article in the recent edition of The Lawyers Weekly entitled "Investor-State Arbitration Arrives in Canada" dealing with the impact of the Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Act (TILMA) for Alberta and British Columbia.

May 2008

Gib van Ert participated in a Continuing Legal Education conference on Using International Law in Canada on May 7th. Gib has written extensively in this field and gave a presentation on "Rules of Public International Law and How Counsel May Make Use of Them in Domestic Litigation". He has also written a chapter for the forthcoming publication of the book, "The Role of Domestic Courts in Treaty Enforcement: A Comparative Study".