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Biography

Ken McEwan practices as general counsel focusing on complex corporate-commercial litigation, class action litigation, commercial arbitration and administrative law at the trial and appellate levels, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He received the designation of Queen’s Counsel from the Attorney General of British Columbia in 2004. Martindale-Hubbell has given Ken a ranking AV-Preeminent.

Chambers Canada consistently ranks Ken in Band 1 for dispute resolution and has noted he enjoys a stellar reputation … interviewees say he is “absolutely spectacular,” describing him as “incredibly detail-orientated” and “very talented” while Chambers Global quotes interviewees describing him as a “terrific lawyer” acclaimed for his handling of securities cases, and with a wealth of trial experience. Benchmark Canada recognized Ken as British Columbia litigator of the year, a distinction he has held for seven of the past eight years. He has twice been nominated as Canadian trial lawyer of the year by Benchmark and since 2017 as one of the top 50 trial lawyers in Canada. Ken has repeatedly been named in Lexpert’s Guide to the leading 100 U.S./Canada cross-border litigators, as well as in the Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada. He is rated by Lexpert as most frequently recommended in corporate commercial litigation, and is recognized in product liability, director and officer liability, and securities litigation. He is listed in the Legal Post Best Lawyers in Canada in the areas of securities law, corporate commercial and class action litigation. Ken is listed in Who’s Who Legal: Litigation and Who’s Who Legal: Product Liability for 2020. Who’s Who Litigation says Ken “is highly praised for his excellent work on corporate and securities litigation…” and “renowned for his formidable work on class actions and dispute resolution.”

Ken is the current (and first Canadian) President of the International Society of Barristers, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a Director of the American College of Trial Lawyers Canadian Foundation, a Director of the Advocates’ Society, as well as Chair of its national standing committee, and a Fellow of The International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has been appointed by the Law Society of British Columbia to its committee on relations with the judiciary and was a long-standing member of the Attorney General’s rules revisions committee until it disbanded in April 2016.

Ken is the author of the fourth edition of Sopinka on the Trial of an Action, a leading text on trial practice, including jury trials, published in 2020. He is an adjunct professor of law at the University of British Columbia Law School, teaching its advanced trial advocacy course. In recent years, he taught Dispute Resolution 2 at Thompson Rivers University. He is a past president of the Sopinka Cup Society which hosts the national finals of the Canadian law school trial moot competition in Ottawa and contributes regularly to both the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia and the Advocates’ Society on topics related to litigation and arbitration. He chairs a panel of the British Columbia Inns of Court project which was established to foster professionalism among young lawyers.

Outside the courtroom, Ken also acts as both arbitrator and mediator of commercial disputes. He is a co-author of Commercial Arbitration in Canada: A Guide to Domestic and International Arbitrations published by Canada Law Book, annually updated, and which has been cited as authority in judgments across Canada. He is a contributing author to A Practitioner’s Guide to Commercial Arbitration, published by Irwin Law in September 2017.  He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Western Canada Commercial Arbitration Society.

 

Recognition

  • Queen’s Counsel 2004
  • Benchmark: Top 50 Trial Lawyers in Canada, 2017-2020
  • Benchmark, Litigator of the Year in British Columbia, 2013-2016 and 2018-2020
  • Lexpert, Top 500 Lawyers in Canada, 2018
  • Lexpert, Leading Cross-Border Litigators, 2018
  • Chambers Canada, British Columbia Dispute Resolution, Band 1, 2018
  • Best Lawyers in Canada, 2020
  • Who’s Who:  Legal Litigation, 2018
  • Who’s Who:  Legal Product Liability, 2018

Education

  • LLB, University of British Columbia (1986)

Associations

  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • President, International Society of Barristers, 2020
  • Second Vice-President, International Society of Barristers, 2017-2019.
  • Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Member, American College of Trial Lawyers “Legal Ethics and Professionalism Committee”
  • Member, American College of Trial Lawyers, Gale Cup Committee
  • Member, American College of Trial Lawyers, Sopinka Cup Committee
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers.
  • Director, American College of Trial Lawyers Canadian Foundation
  • Chair, Advocates Society National Standing Committee, 2020
  • Vice Chair,  Advocates Society Standing Committee on Advocacy and Practice 2020
  • Director, Advocates Society, 2017-2020
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, University of British Columbia
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia Branch
  • Member, Vancouver Bar Association
  • Session Leader, Inns of Court Project
  • Member, Committee on Relations with the Judiciary
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association National Class Action Task Force

Bar Admissions

  • British Columbia (1987)

Notable Cases

Owners, Strata Plan LMS 3905 v. Crystal Square Parking Corp., 2020 SCC 29, successful on behalf of the respondent, Crystal Square Parking Corp. in upholding the decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The case concerned a dispute over the obligation of a strata corporation to pay for parking as provided for in an agreement that had been executed at the time of the property’s development (before the strata existed).  In upholding the decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of Canada (Rowe J., dissenting in part) clarified and confirmed the law of pre-incorporation contracts, as well as the law in respect of contract formation, more generally. The Court also addressed the interplay between the Strata Property Act and contract law, and between contract law and real covenants, respectively.

Yi Teng Investment Inc. v. Keltic (Brighouse) Development Ltd., 2019 BCCA 357, successful both on application and on appeal on behalf of the defendant developer seeking to discharge a certificate of pending litigation. Both the chambers judge and Court of Appeal concluded that the plaintiff’s claim gave rise to no “interest in land”.

The Law Society of British Columbia v. A Solicitor

In June 2017, Ken represented the Law Society of British Columbia in professional disciplinary proceedings concerning a lawyer’s receipt and disbursement of $26 million from offshore jurisdictions.

Basha Sales Co. Ltd. v. Adera Equities Inc., 2017 BCSC 137

Ken successfully led the defence of a claim by owners of a residential development against the developer and adjacent property owners for additional parking stalls in a shared underground parking facility.

Este v. Esteghamat-Ardakani et al, 2017 BCSC 878

Ken successfully obtained a dismissal of the claim after five weeks of trial as an abuse of process.

Sateri Paper v. Vinall et al, 2017 BCSC 491

Ken successfully led the defence of Fortress Paper Ltd. and Fortress Specialty Cellulose Inc. against a claim alleging knowing assistance in breach of trust, breach of confidence, and inducing breach of contract.

Stewart v. Stewart et. al., 2016 BCSC 2256

Successfully defended an application brought against a national law firm claiming a disqualifying conflict of interest.

Arkansas Teachers Retirement Systems v. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., 2016 BCSC 432

Ken McEwan, Q.C. and Emily Kirkpatrick successfully defeated a shareholder application to bring a derivative action against current and former directors and officers of Lions Gate.

The Law Society of British Columbia v. Sas, 2016 BCCA 341

Ken McEwan, Q.C. successfully represented The Law Society of British Columbia in professional conduct proceedings relating to the handling of trust funds.

No Limits Sportswear Inc. et al. v. 0912139 B.C. Ltd., 2015 BCSC 1698

Ken successfully brought an insufficient evidence motion when the plaintiffs’ case closed after 13 days of trial.

Watson v. Bank of America Corporation, et al, 2014 BCSC 532

Ken acted as counsel for for Capital One Bank (Canada Branch) in an application to certify a class action against the credit card industry in Canada.

Sun-Rype Products Ltd. v. Archer Daniels Midland Company, 2013 SCC 58

Ken McEwan, Q.C. and Eileen Patel represented Cargill, and successfully opposed certification of a class action alleging anti-competitive behaviour in the market for high fructose corn syrup. The case was awarded the National Impact Case of the Year by Benchmark and was one of the top 10 litigation cases of the year as listed by Lexpert

Lee v. Georgia Properties Partnership, 2012 BCSC 1484

Ken successfully led the defence in opposing a certification application in a proposed class action concerning the purchase of development units in the Private Residences at the Hotel Georgia.

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