The firm welcomed back one of the founding fathers of its practice
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NEW ENTRY. One of Canada’s largest and oldest law firms, Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG) ventured into arbitration in the 1980s as an offshoot of its work in international trade matters. The group developed under the guidance of two key partners: Gerald W Ghikas QC (now an independent arbitrator in Vancouver) and Edward Chiasson, an arbitrator in an early NAFTA investor-state case who recently returned to the firm after nine years as a judge at the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. These days partner Robert Deane in Vancouver steers the international trade and arbitration group. The Vancouver team includes Craig Chiasson, who was promoted to partner in 2016 and formerly worked in the international arbitration group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Paris. Senior associate Hugh Meighen joined the Toronto office around the same time after five years with Freshfields in London and Dubai, having also served as an assistant legal counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
Another name to know is Bruce Gailey, a former in-house arbitration counsel at Alstom who joined BLG as a foreign consultant in 2015 working from Zurich.
The arbitration team is based primarily in Vancouver, although there are experienced partners in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. The firm also has an office in Ottawa.
Who uses it?
The government of Mexico has been a prominent client, particularly in NAFTA-related matters. At their previous firms, members of the group have also had experience defending Turkey and South Africa and represetning private investors in claims against Argentina, Yemen and Georgia.
Private clients who have used the firm on arbitration matters include HS Orka, a subsidiary of renewable energy group Alterra Power; United Technologies Corporation; and Lumina Copper.
In 2016, the firm secured a victory on behalf of an Icelandic geothermal power producer in an Iceland-seated Stockholm Chamber of Commerce arbitration with the proponent of a potential new aluminium smelter in Iceland.
As mentioned, Edward Chiasson QC returned to the firm as counsel in early 2016 after nine years as a judge at the BC Court of Appeal.
There were also departures. Montreal-based partner Daniel Urbas left the firm to practise as an independent arbitrator, while partner Angus Gunn QC moved to Vancouver litigation boutique Eyford Macaulay Shaw & Padmanabhan.
BLG continues to act for Canadian company Lumina Copper in a US$100 million investment treaty claim against Poland over the revocation of two copper exploitation permits.
The firm is also counsel to a Canadian sporting goods manufacturer in an ICC arbitration against its exclusive Japanese distributor.