Cliff's practice is focused on environmental and aboriginal litigation. His clients include companies in the forestry, manufacturing, mining, real estate development, hydro-electric power generation industries. Cliff has represented his clients in environmental prosecutions, administrative actions, permit appeals, environmental assessments and has helped clients respond to a wide variety of environmental investigations and prosecutions.
Cliff advises clients respecting compliance with environmental laws and regulations, due diligence and environmental auditing. He also assists clients in developing corporate environmental policies, contingency plans, operating manuals, and standard operating procedures. Cliff advises clients faced with a variety of issues surrounding contaminated sites including those clients in the oil and gas, forestry, mining and chemical industries as well as private landfill operations.
He has successfully defended clients against numerous regulatory and environmental prosecutions and has appeared as counsel in British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and before the Supreme Court of Canada. In addition to this court work, Cliff has also conducted administrative hearings before the BC Environmental Appeal Board, BC Forest Appeals Commission, the Natural Resources Conservation Board of Alberta, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal of BC, and the BC Tobacco Control Act Administrative Board.
Cliff acts for resource developers in a number of major aboriginal litigation cases including actions involving land claims and the infringement of treaty and aboriginal rights. Cliff has also acted for industry on numerous court and administrative actions in which First Nations are challenging regulatory permits or appeals. He also has extensive experience in negotiating and drafting co-operation agreements, consultation protocols and impact benefit agreements.
Cliff was the Head of the Litigation Group at Lawson Lundell in 2011. He is currently a member of the firm's Executive Committee.
Bar AdmissionsManitoba (1990)
British Columbia (1992)
EducationUniversity of Manitoba (LL.B, 1988)
University of Cambridge (LL.M., 1989)
Significant AccomplishmentsCliff has had considerable experience in complex litigation and was one of four trial counsel in one of the longest trials in B.C. history, Privest Properties Ltd. et al. v. W.R. Grace & Co. of Canada Ltd. et al. in which Lawson Lundell successfully defended W.R. Grace & Co. in a products liability suit.
Cliff also acts for industry clients in a number of major aboriginal litigation cases including actions involving land claims and the infringement of treaty and aboriginal rights.
Professional Associations*BC Oil and Gas Commission, Statutory Advisory Committee Member (past)
*CBA Environmental Law Subsection, Executive Member (past)
*Environmental Law for Environmental Specialists Douglas College, Lecturer (past)
Recognition and Ranking
*Best Lawyers in Canada: recognized for environmental law and Aboriginal law
*Chambers Global: recognized in the Environment (Canada) category
*Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2015: repeatedly recommended as a Leading Practitioner for Aboriginal law
*Lexpert's Leading Canadian Energy Lawyers 2014
*Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers Foundation, Board Member and Corporate Secretary (current)
*Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, Board Member and Corporate Secretary (past)
*Integrated Vegetation Management Association, Board Member (current)
*Mount Seymour Little League, Coach and Manager (8years) (past)
*North Vancouver Minor Hockey Association, Coach (past)
*Seycove Secondary School, Cross Country Coach (current)
*Seycove Secondary School, Track Coach (current)
SeminarsPacific Business & Law Institute Seminar on Contaminated Sites: New Law and Emerging Issues, Vancouver, BC (April 23, 2015), Speaker
"Fisheries Issues in Environmental Assessment", 7th Edition Environmental Law in BC Conference, Insight Information, Vancouver, BC (October 18-19, 2013), Speaker
"Core Contaminated Sites Legislation and Case Law", Contaminated Sites vs. Brownfield Development: Old and New Approaches to Problem Sites in British Columbia Conference, Pacific Business & Law Institute, Vancouver, BC (September 26, 2012), Speaker
"Update on B.C. Oil and Gas Commission Consultation Process Agreements", 4th Annual Northeast B.C. Natural Gas Summit, Insight Information, Calgary, AB (September 20-21, 2012), Speaker
"Environmental Enforcement and Penalties", Environmental Law: Managing Risk, Continuing Legal Education Society of BC (November 18, 2011), Speaker
"First Nation Consultation", 3rd Annual Northeast BC Natural Gas Summit, Insight Information, Calgary, AB (September 20-21, 2011), Co-speaker
"Dealing with Contaminated Sites", Understanding Environmental Regulations Course, Educational Program Innovations Center (EPIC), Vancouver, BC (February 2 - 4, 2011), Speaker
"Core Legislation and Cornerstone Caselaw", Doing Business with Contaminated Land: Answers, Clarity & Protection, Pacific Business and Law Institute (April 28, 2010), Co-speaker
"Inter Provincial Water Regulation, Jurisdiction and Disputes", 5th Annual Water and Land Management in Alberta, Insight Information (December 7 " 8, 2009), Co-chair
"The Energy and Mining Sectors: Evolution of the Duty and Practical Insight", Consultation & Accommodation 2009 Update, Pacific Business and Law Institute (October 8, 2009), Co-speaker
"Successful Strategies for Navigating Through the Minefield of Inter-jurisdictional Water Disputes", Managing Water Resources & Disputes, The Canadian Institute (September 29 " 30, 2009), Co-speaker
"Recent Contaminated Sites Case Law in British Columbia",, Contaminated Sites, Insight Information (February 23 " 24, 2009), Co-speaker
"Spills", Understanding Environmental Regulations, EPIC Educational Program Innovations Center (February 4 " 6, 2009), Co-speaker
"BC and Alberta: Federal Jurisdiction Over Water and Interprovincial Water Aspects", 4th Annual Water & Land Management in Alberta, Insight Information (December 8 " 9, 2008), Co-speaker
"The Duty to Consult", Adapting to Change (Regulatory, Ecological, Social), IVMA (November 19 " 20, 2008), Speaker
"Updates on Consultation Developments Across Canada", 8th Annual Western Canada Aboriginal Business and Economic Development, Insight Information (October 22, 2008), Speaker
4th Annual Western Canada Contaminated Sites, Insight Information (June 12 " 13, 2008), Speaker
Fundamentals of Environmental Law and Regulation, The Canadian Institute (May 15 " 16, 2008), Speaker
"Resolving Past Grievances: Managing the Impact of Past Breaches on Agreements, Permit and License Renewals", Negotiating with Aboriginal Communities, The Canadian Institute (September 18 " 19, 2007), Speaker
"Accommodation: Agreements between Industry and First Nations: A Primer", 3rd Annual Aboriginal Consultation for Industry, The Canadian Institute (December 4 " 5, 2006), Speaker
"Industry's Role in Consultation Under the New Relationship Document", 8th Annual Aboriginal Land and Resource Management, Insight Information (November 6 " 7, 2006), Speaker
"Accomplishing Shared Decision Making", Aboriginal Law Conference, The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia (June 23, 2006), Speaker
Environmental Management and Compliance, EPIC Educational Program Innovations Center (November 24 " 25, 2005), Speaker
Aboriginal Law and Natural Resource Use, The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia (October 7, 2005), Speaker
"Legal Perspective of the IPM Act", Vegetation Management: The Triple Bottom Line, Integrated Vegetation Management Association of B.C. (November 18 " 19, 2004), Speaker
"The Duty to Consult With First Nations Regarding Pest Management Plan on Private and Public Lands", 6th Annual Aboriginal Land and Resource Management, Insight Information Co. (November 4 " 5, 2004), Speaker
"Working with the Community on Environmental Issues", Understanding Environmental Regulations, EPIC Educational Program Innovations Center (May 17 " 18, 2004), Speaker
"The New Act: Changes of Control and Tenure Transfers", 5th Annual Forestry Summit, Insight Information Co. (May 17 " 18, 2004), Speaker
"Environmental Case Law Update", Environmental Law Conference, The Continuing Legal Education Society of BC (February 5, 2004), Speaker
"Professional Practice Under the New Code", APEG Annual Conference 2003, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (October 23 " 25, 2003), Speaker
"Case Study-Inspection, Investigation, & Defense", Environmental Management and Compliance, EPIC Educational Program Innovations Center (April 23 " 24, 2001), Speaker