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K. Michael Stephens

Profile

Michael Stephens is litigation counsel at Hunter Litigation Chambers practising in the area of commercial law and public law litigation. He has law degrees from Dalhousie University and Harvard University, and is a former law clerk of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Michael acts as legal counsel before courts and administrative tribunals, and in arbitration proceedings, in respect of a wide variety of commercial and administrative law matters. He has experience before British Columbia and Federal Courts, and at the Supreme Court of Canada. Michael has been recognized as a notable practitioner in the area of dispute resolution in the Chambers Global Guide to the world’s leading lawyers published by Chambers & Partners.

Michael has experience dealing with litigious land use matters, corporate commercial disputes, and other private disputes. For example, he was lead counsel for TimberWest in a successful challenge to a 2009 municipal bylaw increasing the tax rate to TimberWest's private forest lands on Vancouver Island. Michael’s practice also includes constitutional and other public law litigation. Michael appeared as counsel with John Hunter QC in one of the leading cases on section 7 of the Charter, Blencoe v. British Columbia (Human Rights Commission), [2000] 2 S.C.R. 307.

Michael has appeared as a speaker at legal education seminars, and has been an instructor at the UBC Trial Advocacy Course. He has published in the areas of administrative law, constitutional law, and litigation practice and procedure.

Michael is a past Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s Administrative Law (BC) Subsection (2011-2013) and past member of the executive of the Canadian Bar Association National Administrative Law Section. Michael has served as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia's Working Group to develop Model Anton Piller and Mareva Injunction Orders for use in British Columbia courts.

Notable Cases

Notable Cases

Ross v. British Columbia Lottery Corporation, 2014 BCSC 320 (co-counsel with M. Oulton, B. Olthuis and S. Ramsay): defending lottery corporation in action in negligence brought by a member of a voluntary self-exclusion program

Askin v. Law Society of British Columbia, 2013 BCCA 233 (co-counsel with E. Patel): representing the law society in a proceeding for declaratory relief concerning the qualifications of Attorney General of British Columbia

British Columbia Lottery Corporation v. Dyson, 2013 BCSC 11 and British Columbia Lottery Corporation v. Skelton, 2013 BCSC 12 (co-counsel with G. van Ert): judicial review of decisions of Information and Privacy Commissioner of B.C. regarding disclosure of records held by public body

Teal Cedar Products Ltd. v. British Columbia, 2013 SCC 51 (co-counsel with J. Hunter, Q.C.): arbitration award for compensation arising out of creation of park – determination of availability of compound interest in B.C. arbitrations

Phillips v. Keefe, 2012 BCCA 123: (co-counsel with G. van Ert): judgment on claim for trespass, and to determine the location of a disputed property boundary

Murray v. Langley (Township), 2010 BCSC 102: summary trial as to whether landslide constituted an actionable private nuisance

TimberWest Forest Corp. v. Campbell River (City), 2009 BCSC 1804: and 2010 BCSC 466: (co-counsel M. Oulton): successful challenge to the validity of increase in municipal taxes upon holder of private forest land

VetshopAustralia Pty. Ltd. v. Pivotal Partners Inc., 2008 BCSC 1336: application for production of privileged documents based on asserted waiver of privilege

Jay & Mereti Holdings Ltd. v. British Columbia Lottery Corporation, 2008 BCSC 196: successfully setting aside an ex parteinjunction which sought to restrain the termination of a lottery operations agreement

Weyerhaeuser Company Limited v. Hayes, 2008 BCCA 120: (co-counsel with G. van Ert): concerning the appeal of a decision denying leave to appeal an arbitration award in a forestry dispute

Weyerhaeuser Company Limited v. Hayes, 2008 BCCA 31: (co-counsel with J. Hunter, Q.C.): appeal from decision setting aside arbitration award concerning a timber supply execution agreement

Cook v. Board of School Trustees of School District No. 43 (Coquitlam), 2007 BCSC 1229: judicial review challenging decision to close elementary school

Soussan v. Wolters, 2006 BCCA 478: review of a decision to deny indigent status to appellant on appeal from decision dismissing action for assault and battery

International Forest Products Ltd v. British Columbia, 2006 BCSC 233: action for the return of monies paid to Province pursuant to the invalid scaling of Crown timber

West Vancouver v. British Columbia, 2005 FC 593: (co-counsel with J. Hunter, Q.C.): challenge by way of judicial review to the environmental assessment concerning the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project

Society Promoting Environmental Conservation v. Canada (Attorney General), 2003 FCA 239: (co-counsel with J. Hunter, Q.C.): successfully defending a legal challenge to the validity of the expropriation of land by the federal Crown at Nanoose Bay, B.C.

TFL Forest Ltd. v. British Columbia, 2002 BCSC 180: claim for constructive expropriation of timber harvesting rights by park creation

Pacifica Papers Inc. v. 3017970 et al, 2001 BCSC 1069: 2001 BCCA 486: litigation concerning opposed plan of arrangement under Canada Business Corporations Act

Terrafund Financial Inc. v. 569244 B.C. Ltd., 2000 BCSC 1719: dismissal of action for enforcement of commitment letter on the ground it is not an enforceable contract

Blencoe v. British Columbia (Human Rights Commission), 2000 SCC 44: (co-counsel with J. Hunter, Q.C.): leading case on the interpretation and application of section 7 of the Charter- the protection of life, liberty and security of the person

Publications

Publications

K. Michael Stephens, "Striking a Pleading for No Reasonable Claim", for the Continuing Legal Education Motions to Strike 2014 Conference, held in Vancouver, BC on April 25, 2014

Contributor, the Continuing Legal Education's Introducing Evidence at Trial: A British Columbia Handbook, 2nd edition (2013), Chapters 13 (Opinion Evidence) and 14 (Post-occurrence or Post-offense Conduct)

Speaker, “Courting Independence: Tribunal Governance, Independence and Accountability in Canada”, Ontario Bar Association-Canadian Bar Association joint program (May 31, 2013)

K. Michael Stephens and Brian Duong, “Collateral Attack in Canadian Administrative Law: Principles Going Forward”, presented to the Canadian Bar Association’s 13th Annual National Administrative Law, Labour and Employment Law Conference: At the Crossroads (November 23-24, 2012)

K. Michael Stephens, “Expertise in Administrative Law: Institutional or Individualized Assessment?”, presented to the Canadian Bar Association’s 12th Annual National Administrative Law, Labour and Employment Law Conference: Behind Closed Doors (November 25-26, 2011)

Update to chapter on "Pre-trial Disclosure of Expert Opinions" in the Continuing Legal Education's Expert Evidence in BC Civil Proceedings (2011)

"The Fundamentals of Administrative Law", for The Canadian Institute’s Western Canadian Conference on The Law of Policing Workshop, November 22, 2010; and the 2nd Annual Western Canadian Conference on the Law of Policing, December 1, 2011

"Administrative Law", co-authored with Greg Allen, in the Continuing Legal Education's Annual Review of Law & Practice (2011)

"Administrative Law" in the Continuing Legal Education's Annual Review of Law and Practice (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)

"Motions to Strike: Update and Strategic Considerations", co-authored with Robert J.C. Deane, for the Continuing Legal Education Motions to Strike Conference, held in Vancouver, BC on November 13, 2009

"Civil Procedure -- Court Rules" in the Continuing Legal Education's Annual Review of Law and Practice (2005), by Mike Stephens, Mark Oulton and Jasmine MacAdam.

"Civil Procedure -- Court Rules" in the Continuing Legal Education's Annual Review of Law and Practice (2004), by Mike Stephens, Stephanie McHugh and Jasmine MacAdam.

"Fidelity to Fundamental Justice: An Originalist Construction of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms", (2002), 13 N.J.C.L. 183

News

News

April 2017

Michael Stephens (with Brent Olthuis) 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.