Claire E. Hunter, Q.C.
Claire Hunter, Q.C. is counsel at the firm and has a broad civil litigation, public and administrative law and appellate practice. She appears regularly as counsel at both the trial and appellate level, including all levels of court in British Columbia and the Supreme Court of Canada, and before arbitration tribunals and administrative boards. She has experience working on complex commercial matters, including conducting internal investigations and has appeared before regulators in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. . In 2017 she was named a Lexpert Leading Lawyer Under 40. She is currently ranked by Lexpert as “Repeatedly Recommended” in commercial litigation, by Benchmark Canada as a "Litigation Star”, by Chambers Canada as “Up and Coming” in general commercial and by Legal 500 as a “Next generation lawyer”.
Claire joined the firm in 2010 after five years of practice with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York, where she focussed on defending financial institutions in criminal, regulatory and securities class actions.
A graduate of McGill, Stanford and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Claire spent a year as law clerk to Justice Iacobucci of the Supreme Court of Canada before commencing her practice in New York. She has been a member of the New York State bar since 2004 and was called to the British Columbia bar in 2010. Claire was appointed Queens Counsel in 2018.
Claire is actively involved in community work including as a provider of pro bono legal services. She is currently Chair and President of the Access Pro Bono Society of British Columbia, a director of the Lawyers Inn Society and serves on the Access to Legal Services Advisory Committee of the Law Society of British Columbia. From 2014 – 2017 she was an elected member of the Canadian Bar Association’s provincial counsel for British Columbia. She is also a past president of the Advocates Club and a former chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s national Pro Bono Committee. Claire has received a number of awards for pro bono service including the Allan Parker QC Award for Representation Services from Access Pro Bono in 2013, the Harry Rankin QC Pro Bono Award from the Canadian Bar Association in 2015 and the Ann Wilson and Robert Prichard Award for Community and Professional Service by the University of Toronto Alumni Association in 2017.
Outside the law, Claire was a volunteer big sister from 2011-2017 and sits on the board of the VSO School of Music.
Recent Professional Activities
Frequent Presenter on Continuing Legal Education topics
"Electronic Evidence: Current Issues and Best Practices", Panel member (with Mr. Justice Elliott Myers) CLEBC Electronic Evidence and eDiscovery October 14, 2016
""No Fee" Status Applications in the Court of Appeal", Panel member (with Justice Bennett and Registrar Outerbridge) CBABC Appellate Advocacy Section Meeting, October 6, 2016
"The Inconvenient Truth – Not All Affidavits are Created Equal", Panel member (with Master MacNaughton and Meaghan Selinger" CBABC Webinar, February 16, 2016
"Litigation in the Facebook Age: Creative Discovery Through Cutting-Edge Internet Research on Parties and Witnesses" at CLEBC A Litigator’s Arsenal 2015, October 23, 2015
"Access to Justice Issues" Panel member (with Madam Justice Bennett and Katherine Hardie) at CLEBC Appellate Practice 2015, April 17, 2015
"Court of Appeal Chambers" Panel member (with Madam Justice Saunders and Raymond Leong) at CLEBC Appellate Practice 2015, April 17, 2015
"Organizing Your Evidence at Trial" Presenter at CLEBC Civil Litigation Basics, February 11, 2015
"Making Use of Pro Bono Counsel" Panel member (with Ryan Dalziel, Jamie Maclaren and Grace Pastine) at Law Foundation Systemic Advocacy Workshop, December 11, 2014
"Best Practices for Managing Evidence: Did You Get Everything You Need?" Presentation at Infonex Professional Regulation and Discipline Conference, October 22, 2014
"Taking it National" and "Working Outside the Box" Panel member at 2014 National Pro Bono Conference, Regina, September 25- 26, 2014
"Civility in the Courtroom: Essentials for Trial Lawyers" Panel member (with Mr. Justice Verhoeven) at CBABC Professional Development Webinar, May 15, 2014
Other Professional Activities
Access Pro Bono Society of British Columbia
Law Society of British Columbia (Access to Legal Services Advisory Committee, 2015 – present)
Advocates Club (President, 2014 – 2015; Treasurer, 2011 – 2015; Member, 2010 – 2016)
Canadian Bar Association
Law Courts Inn Society
J.P. v. British Columbia (Children and Family Development), 2018 BCCA 325: On the costs application, the Court dismissed a number of orders sought against counsel for the mother, including an application for an order counsel for the mother pay special costs of the proceedings personally. Bill Smart, Q.C. and Claire Hunter acted for the mother’s lawyer in successfully resisting the orders sought against him.
Este v. Esteghamat-Ardakani, 2017 BCSC 878 (with Ken McEwan, Q.C.): obtained dismissal of trial after five weeks on a no evidence/abuse of process motion.
Cowper-Smith v. Morgan, 2016 BCCA 200: appeal relating to the standard to rebut the presumption of undue influence and the application of the doctrine of proprietary estoppel currently on reserve at Supreme Court of Canada on the proprietary estoppel issue.
S.M.B. v. A.J.M., 2016 BCSC 811: application for return under Article 12 of the the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
R. v. Dickey, 2016 BCCA 177: represented Pivot Legal Society on appeal relating to constitutionality of mandatory minimum sentence provisions.
Ma v. Nutriview Systems Inc., 2016 BCCA 4: appeal about the use of propensity evidence and the admissibility of fresh evidence on appeal.
Reum Holdings Ltd. v. 0893178 B.C. Ltd., 2015 BCSC 2022: application upholding certificate of pending litigation on Crown land.
Robinson v. Furlong, 2015 BCSC 627 (with John Hunter, Q.C.): successfully defended John Furlong in two week trial of a defamation claim made by a journalist against him.
Morice v. Furlong, 2015 BCSC 216 with Bill Smart, Q.C.); West v. Furlong, 2015 BCSC 216 (with John Hunter, Q.C.): represented John Furlong in obtaining dismissal of claims brought by persons alleging historical abuse.
Goodwin v. British Columbia (Superintendant of Motor Vehicles), 2015 SCC 46; 2014 BCCA 79: represented British Columbia Civil Liberties Association on appeal relating to constitutionality of automatic roadside driving prohibitions.
Honborg v. Private Career Training Institutions Agency, 2015 BCSC 965: successful application to strike claim against Crown corporation.
Hughes v. Hughes, 2014 BCCA 196: appeal relating to enforceability of child support order in case involving conflicting orders on return of child of British Columbia court and Italian court under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
Reference re Senate Reform, 2014 SCC 32 (with John Hunter, Q.C. and Brent Olthuis): reference on constitutionality of and applicability of appropriate amending formula to proposed amendments to the Senate.
Watson v. Bank of America Corporation, et al., 2014 BCSC 532 (with Ken McEwan, Q.C.): represented Capital One Bank (Canada Branch) on certification of a class action relating to credit card merchant fees.
Wilson v. Williams, 2013 BCCA 471: appeal on issue of whether defamatory statements were published on occasions of absolute privilege.
Tangerine Financial Products Limited Partnership v. Sutherland, 2013 BCCA 283 (with John Hunter, Q.C.): appeal from injunction issued to enforce order prohibiting interference with sale of receivership assets.
Jer v. Samji, 2013 BCSC 1671 (with Ken McEwan, Q.C.): certification of class action relating to alleged ponzi scheme.
Johnson v. Jessel, 2012 BCCA 393: appeal relating to interpretation of provisions relating to wrongful removal of children in the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
Piscedda Mining Construction International v. Crew Gold Corporation, 2011 YKSC 79 (with Ken McEwan, QC): application on jurisdiction of Yukon courts to determine dispute under mining contract.
“The Impact of Pro Bono Counsel on Awards of Party-and-Party Costs in Civil Litigation” (2013), 71 The Advocate 23-33
“Continuing the Conversation: A Reply to Manfredi and Kelly” (2004) 49(3) McGill Law Journal 765 (with Sujit Choudhry).
“New Justification for an Old Approach: In Defense of Characterizing First Nations Treaties as Contracts” (2004) 62 (1) University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review 61.
“Measuring Judicial Activism on the Supreme Court of Canada: A Comment on Newfoundland (Treasury Board) v. Newfoundland Association of Public Employees" (2003) 48 (3) McGill Law Journal 525 (with Sujit Choudhry).
“Kymlicka’s Liberal Defense of National Recognition and the Case of the Nisga’a” (1999) 6 McGill Review of Interdisciplinary Arts 1.
Claire is actively involved in community work including as a provider of pro bono legal services. She is currently Chair and President of the Access Pro Bono Society of British Columbia, a director of the Lawyers Inn Society, serves on the Access to Legal Services Advisory Committee of the Law Society of British Columbia. From 2014 – 2017, she was an elected member of the Canadian Bar Association’s provincial counsel for British Columbia. She is also a past president of the Advocates Club and a former chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s national Pro Bono Committee. Claire has received a number of awards for pro bono service including the Allan Parker QC Award for Representation Services from Access Pro Bono in 2013, the Harry Rankin QC Pro Bono Award from the Canadian Bar Association in 2015, and the Ann Wilson and Robert Prichard Award for Community and Professional Service by the University of Toronto Alumni Association in 2017.
Outside the law, Claire is a volunteer big sister and sits on the board of the VSO School of Music.
The firm is very pleased to announce that Claire Hunter was appointed Queen’s Counsel. In announcing Claire’s appointment, the Attorney General explained that the QC designation recognizes a lawyer’s “superb record of achievement and commitment to our province’s legal system” and, in Claire’s case, noted that she “is a prominent voice for the provision of pro bono services and a frequent presenter on access-to-justice issues”. The news realease is avaialble here.
Hunter Litigation Chambers was again recommended as a Top-Tier Firm in Dispute Resolution in British Columbia, in The Legal 500 Canada 2019 edition. Four Lawyers are recommended in the editorial, William Smart QC, Michael Stephens, Brent Olthuis and Claire Hunter. Brent and Claire are also recognized as Next Generation Lawyers in 2019.
On November 10, Claire Hunter spoke on a panel entitled “Social Media: What Every Litigator Needs to Know” at the Advocates’ Society’s Fall Convention in Laguna Beach, California.
Claire Hunter was appointed to the Advocates’ Society’s national Access to Justice Taskforce.
Hunter Litigation Chambers was again highly ranked in the 2019 Chambers Canada guide, recently published by Chambers and Partners.
In this most recent edition of the Guide, five of our counsel achieved recognition across two categories. Randy Kaardal, QC, Michael Stephens, Brent Olthuis and Claire Hunter were each again ranked as leading practitioners in the area of Litigation: General Commercial. Mark Oulton achieved a Band 1 recognition – the highest ranking - for his work in Agribusiness: Forestry – Nationwide - Canada.
The Chambers Canada guide ranks the best lawyers and law firms in over 40 specialist practice areas across Canada. Rankings are primarily based on peer and client interviews, but also rely on information submitted by law firms.
On October 4-5, Access Pro Bono BC hosted “Seeing the Need, Taking the Lead” the 7th National Pro Bono Conference in Vancouver. Claire Hunter is the President of Access Pro Bono and chaired panels at the conference on “Unlocking the Professional Development of Pro Bono” and “New Frontiers in Pro Bono Service”. Hunter Litigation Chambers was a gold sponsor of the conference.
On August 20, the Court of Appeal released its Reasons for Judgment on a costs application in J.P. v. British Columbia (Children and Family Development), a family case that has been the subject of significant attention and commentary. On the costs application, the Court dismissed a number of orders sought against counsel for the mother, including an application for an order counsel for the mother pay special costs of the proceedings personally. Bill Smart, Q.C. and Claire Hunter acted for the mother’s lawyer in successfully resisting the orders sought against him.
Claire Hunter obtained summary dismissal on behalf of our provincial government employee of a claim alleging misfeasance of a public official. The reasons for judgment are available here.
Following a trial of over 50 days, Claire Hunter and Ken McEwan (former counsel at the firm) obtained dismissal of a claim brought for breach of trust against a national law firm. The reasons for judgment are available here.
CBABC has appointed Claire Hunter to sit on the Advisory Committee to the Judicial Council of BC for a one year term commencing September 1, 2018.
On June 22, 2018 Claire Hunter was on the faculty for CLEBC’s Commercial Litigation 2018 program. Claire spoke on a panel and co-wrote a paper with Ross McGowan and Abbas Sabbur on Fraud in Civil Proceedings.
Benchmark Canada has released its 2018 Attorney rankings and each of Claire Hunter, Randy Kaardal, Q.C., Brent Olthuis, Mark Oulton, Bill Smart, Q.C. and Michael Stephens are recognized as litigation stars.
On May 11, 2018, Claire Hunter was on the faculty for the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia’s “Expert Evidence” program. Claire’s presentation was on “Professionalism and Ethical Issues with Expert Evidence”.
Lexpert has released their 2018 directory of leading Canadian lawyers. Once again, Hunter Litigation Chambers is one of only two British Columbia litigation boutiques ranked in the top “most frequently recommended” band for corporate commercial litigation and the firm is also ranked as a leading firm in forestry law. Four lawyers are ranked as leading practitioners: Randy Kaardal is ranked in employment law (employer and employee), Mike Stephens and Claire Hunter in corporate commercial litigation and Mark Oulton in forestry law.
Five Hunter Litigation Chambers lawyers — Mike Stephens, Brent Olthuis, Claire Hunter, Trevor Bant and Julia Roos — were recognized in the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s 2017 Annual Report for their contributions to pro bono services on Court of Appeal cases in 2017.
Claire Hunter has been re-elected as a director of the VSO School of Music.
Claire Hunter has been re-appointed as Vice Chair of the Law Society of BC’s Access to Legal Services Advisory Committee for 2018. Claire has been a member of this committee since 2015.
Claire Hunter has been appointed to the CBABC Governance Review Task Force, which has been struck to review and consider on structural governance matters within the CBA's BC Branch.
On December 14, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada has released its reasons for judgment in Cowper-Smith v. Morgan, an important case on estate law and the law of proprietary estoppel, available here. Claire Hunter and Ryan Androsoff were counsel for the respondent Gloria Morgan at the Supreme Court of Canada. Claire was also quoted in the Lawyers Daily about the significance of the decision for the test for proprietary estoppel.
Claire Hunter, with the assistance of Anna Poezzhaeva (articling student), obtained a dismissal for our strata corporation client of a claim by an owner that a decision of the strata had been significantly unfair. The decision is available here.
On November 29, 2017, Claire Hunter was a panelist on a CBABC webinar entitled "Anatomy of a Document, Documentary Evidence: How to Assess it, Organize it and Submit it at Trial".
On November 21, 2017, Claire Hunter was a guest lecturer at the upper year Ethics and Professionalism class at UBC Law School. Claire made a presentation and led a discussion on access to justice.
Claire Hunter was presented a Rising Stars Award at the Gala honouring Canada’s Leading Lawyers Under 40. Lexpert paid tribute to the rising stars of the legal community at an awards presentation on Thursday, November 16, 2017.
On November 1, Claire Hunter was on the faculty for the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia’s “Appellate Practice 2017” program. Claire spoke on a “Special Issues” panel about interlocutory appeals and self-represented litigants.
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.
Claire Hunter attended the inaugural Canadian Benchmark Women in Litigation Forum in Toronto on October 18. Claire spoke on a panel on the “Importance of leadership in developing your career”.
Benchmark Canada has released its 2017 rankings and each of Claire Hunter, John Hunter QC, Randy Kaardal, Q.C., Ken McEwan, Q.C., Brent Olthuis, Mark Oulton, Bill Smart, Q.C. and Michael Stephens are recognized as litigation stars.
Claire Hunter has been awarded the Ann Wilson and Robert Prichard Award for Community and Professional Service by the University of Toronto Law Alumni Association. The award is presented bi-annually and honours a graduate of the Faculty of Law who demonstrates the highest standards of professional integrity, excellence and leadership, and who has made a significant contribution to the legal profession and/or community through his or her public interest work, pro bono activities and/or community service.
Claire Hunter and Ken Leung obtained dismissals in chambers of four appeals brought against the Private Career Training Institutions Agency and its employees. The decisions are available here:
Claire Hunter has been elected Chair and President of the Access Pro Bono Society of British Columbia.
On October 14, Claire Hunter appeared on a panel with the Honourable Mr. Justice Elliott Myers on Electronic Evidence: Current Issues and Best Practices as part of CLEBC's Electronic Evidence and eDiscovery 2016 program.
On September 26, Claire was the keynote speaker at the University of Victoria's launch of their Pro Bono Students Canada program for this year. Claire talked about how providing pro bono services can enhance life in private practice.
Claire Hunter and Eileen Patel successfully appealed an order in proprietary estoppel awarding the respondent a right to purchase the appellant’s interest in her share of the family home. The majority held on this issue that a remedy in proprietary estoppel cannot arise where the person making the alleged representation regarding the property in question has no current or immediate right to the property, settling a point of law not previously determined in British Columbia. The reasons are available here. (at paragraphs 98-119)
Claire Hunter has successfully defended an international child abduction claim brought in relation to Article 12 of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The reasons for judgment may be found here.
On April 25, 2016, the British Columbia Court of Appeal released its decision in a trilogy of cases indexed as R. v. Dickey, 2016 BCCA 177 considering the constitutionality of two-year mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug offenses. The Court found that these mandatory minimum provisions were unconstitutional because they infringed section 12 of the Charter as being cruel and unusual punishment. Claire Hunter was counsel to the Pivot Legal Society on the appeal.
Claire Hunter and Rebecca Robb brought a successful appeal on behalf of two hatching egg producers from a series of decisions of the British Columbia Broiler Hatching Egg Commission relating to the establishment of a quota system for specialty hatching egg production in British Columbia. In March 29, 2016, the Farm Industry Review Board found "significant errors of both policy and process" and set aside the decisions under appeal. The reasons 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".
On October 23, Claire Hunter was on the faculty of CLEBC's program "A Litigator's Arsenal 2015". Claire gave a presentation entitled "Litigation in the Facebook Age: Creative Discovery Through Cutting-Edge Internet Research on Parties and Witnesses" based a paper co-written by Claire and Hunter Litigation Chambers articling student, Julia Roos.
John Hunter, Q.C. and Claire Hunter have successfully defended John Furlong, the Chief Executive Officer of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Committee, in a defamation suit brought by a journalist who had published unsubstantiated allegations against Mr. Furlong and had in turn been criticized by him. The decision can be found in Robinson v. Furlong, 2015 BCSC 1690. John, Claire and Bill Smart, Q.C. had represented Mr. Furlong in earlier proceedings against him, all of which were dismissed.
The Canadian Bar Association has awarded Claire Hunter the prestigious Harry Rankin, Q.C. Award for Pro Bono Services in recognition of her contribution to the provision of pro bono services in British Columbia and nationally.
Claire Hunter has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the VSO School of Music, a school established under the auspices of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra to promote music education in Vancouver. Claire has also been appointed to the Board of the Lawyers Inn.
Mike Stephens and Claire Hunter were on the faculty for the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia’s conference “Appellate Practice 2015”. Claire was on panels on Court of Appeal Chambers practice, which included Madam Justice Saunders and Registrar Outerbridge and on Access to Justice Issues, which included Madam Justice Bennett and Mike spoke on Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Bill Smart, Q.C. and Claire Hunter, with the assistance of Rebecca Robb, successfully obtained dismissed at trial of a historical abuse claim made against the firm’s client John Furlong. The Court found that the conduct in the litigation of the man who made claim was egregious, reprehensible and worthy of rebuke and awarded special costs to Mr. Furlong. The Oral Reasons For Judgment are available here.
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, 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.
John Hunter, Q.C. and Claire Hunter, with the assistance of Rebecca Robb, successfully obtained dismissal at summary trial of a historical abuse claim made against John Furlong. The woman’s claim was dismissed on the basis that the evidence supported a conclusion that she did not attend the school at which Mr. Furlong taught during the time he was there. The Reasons for Judgment are available here.
We are pleased to announce that Claire Hunter has become a shareholder in the firm. After serving as a law clerk in the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004, Claire began her practice in commercial and regulatory litigation, first in New York, now in Vancouver with our firm. Congratulations to Claire!
Claire Hunter has been appointed to the Law Society of British Columbia’s Access to Legal Services Advisory Committee for 2015. This Committee advises the Benchers on priority planning with respect to access to legal services. Claire is past Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s national Pro Bono Committee and is currently Vice-President of Access Pro Bono.
Randy Kaardal and Claire Hunter were counsel on one of the first applications for leave to appeal from an arbitral award heard by the British Columbia Supreme Court following the Supreme Court of Canada’s release of Sattva Capital Corp. v. Creston Molly Corp., 2014 SCC 53.
Claire Hunter has been elected to the Provincial Council of the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch (CBABC) for the County of Vancouver. The purpose of Provincial Council is to carry on the work of the CBABC and advance its objects.
Claire Hunter successfully defeated two applications for security for costs brought against our client in a shareholder oppression proceeding: Ocean Pastures Corporation v. Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, 2014 BCSC 1788.
John Hunter, Q.C. and Claire Hunter, with the assistance of Ken Leung, were successful in the Court of Appeal in defending dismissal of an action against our firm’s client on the basis that it was an abuse of process. The Court of Appeal’s Reasons for Judgment in Sutherland v. Reeves, 2014 BCCA 222, are available here.
On May 15, Claire Hunter co-chaired a webinar on “Civility in the Courtroom: Essentials for Trial Lawyers, sponsored by the Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia Branch. Claire presented the lawyer’s perspective, with Mr. Justice Frits Verhoeven of the Supreme Court of British Columbia offering the perspective of the judge.
Claire Hunter and Heather Cochran were counsel in an appeal that raised important issues about the interaction between foreign and domestic child support orders and the impact of a parent’s non-compliance with British Columbia court orders and the right of her child to support. The Reasons for Judgment are available here.
Ken McEwan, Q.C. and Claire Hunter were counsel for Capital One Bank (Canada Branch) in an application to certify a class action against the credit card industry in Canada heard over 12 day in 2013. The Reasons for Judgment in Watson v. Bank of America Corporation, et al, 2014 BCSC 532, have been released and are available here.
Claire Hunter has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Access Pro Bono, British Columbia’s leading pro bono organization with the objective of delivering a full spectrum of pro bono services for low-income clients.
Claire Hunter has received the Allan Parker QC Award for Representation Services from Access Pro Bono for her tireless pro bono work on several cases in 2012 involving parental rights, democratic participation, the right to housing and the right to essential benefits for a disabled person. Claire was also recognized for assisting Access Pro Bono to refine and improve its Civil Chambers Program to better serve low- and modest-income Supreme Court and Court of Appeal litigants.