GAR 100 - 15th Edition

Borden Ladner Gervais

Borden Ladner Gervais

Professional notice

Won a US$30 million freezing order against Indian state assets

People in Who’s Who Legal3
People in Future Leaders2
Pending cases as counsel11
Value of pending counsel workUS$3.04 billion
Treaty cases as counsel1
Third-party funded cases1
Current arbitrator appointments2 (2 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator2

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. To this day, the firm still groups its arbitration lawyers under a joint trade and arbitration practice.

The group developed under the guidance of two key partners: Gerald Ghikas QC (now an independent arbitrator in Vancouver) and Edward Chiasson, an arbitrator in an early NAFTA investor-state case who returned to the firm in 2016 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.

Partner 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.

The team expanded in 2018 with the hires of Milos Barutciski and Matthew Kronby from Bennett Jones. Barutciski was counsel to Lone Pine Resources in a NAFTA claim, and Kronby is the former director general of Canada’s Trade Law Bureau, where he specialised in NAFTA claims.

Network

The arbitration team is based primarily in Vancouver, with five arbitration partners in that office, but there are also senior arbitration lawyers in BLG’s Calgary, Toronto and Montreal offices. 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 representing private investors in claims against Argentina, Yemen and Georgia.

Private clients include Pratt & Whitney, United Technologies Corporation, renewable energy group Alterra Power and its subsidiary HS Orka, SNC Lavalin, Arbutus Biopharma and Lumina Copper.

Track record

In 2017, 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.

The same year, BLG helped Canadian interactive whiteboard developer SMART Technologies reverse an unfavourable ruling in an US$18 million ad hoc arbitration seated in Calgary. The client ultimately prevailed on its counterclaims in the dispute.

It has secured a favourable settlement for South American and Canadian clients in a dispute over the construction of a mine in Central America, with several hundred million US dollars in dispute.

Recent events

Representing shareholders in Indian telecoms company Devas Multimedia, holders of a US$111 million investment treaty award against India, the firm secured a freezing order against US$30 million in aviation funds held by the Montreal-based International Air Travel Association (IATA), which had been set to pass the money on to India’s airports authority and state-owned airline.

The firm obtained an ICC award worth US$56 million for infrastructure client Tower-EBC over the termination of an earthworks contract for a mine in the Canadian Arctic. The firm is also acting in set-aside proceedings.

BLG’s Calgary office is advising Geophysical Service in a US$2.6 billion NAFTA claim against Canada relating to the handling of proprietary seismic data. In early 2022, the firm succeeded in disqualifying a member of Canada’s counsel team from the case because of her prior employment at a third-party funder.

It represents a claimant in an HKIAC arbitration worth US$40 million relating to a software supply agreement. The firm’s arbitration head, Deane, has taken on the case alongside partner Craig Chiasson. The arbitration is funded by Omni Bridgeway.

Counsel Philippe Boisvert joined in Montreal from White & Case.

Client comment

“Robert Deane is particularly strong and should be considered as lead counsel in an arbitration,” says Lyle Braaten, in-house counsel at Lumina Gold. “He is particularly good both in preparation and at a hearing.”

BLG is Canada’s Law Firm

As Canada’s law firm, Borden Ladner Gervais provides high-value advice and advocacy to address our clients’ business challenges and problems. We go beyond legal to anticipate, consult and advise in a rapidly changing digital world.

We have extensive experience acting in specialized, complex, and virtual disputes. Vigilant, curious and collaborative, we harness technology and innovation to offer our clients exceptional service and value.

With 750+ lawyers across Canada, we serve clients throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Offering expertise in international arbitration, domestic arbitration, and arbitration-related litigation across industry sectors, our connectivity and broad experience gives our clients the next-level service and insight required to achieve success in complex and international matters.

Bilingual across all practice areas and sectors, BLG excels in Canada’s common and civil law systems. Our five offices operate in Canada’s largest city centres to offer our clients an established national presence and a global reach through our international network.

Website: www.blg.com

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