Craig's Assistant

San Chan

Paralegal Assistant

schan@djacounsel.com

Direct: (604) 659-9483

Biography

Recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a “Top 50 Trial Lawyer in Canada,” Craig Dennis, K.C. has represented clients in significant litigation matters at the trial and appellate levels for more than 30 years.  Craig’s practice has a business focus with an emphasis on the effective resolution of complex commercial disputes. His litigation experience includes the defence of class actions, professional liability, shareholder and related corporate disputes, product liability, real estate and other land-related disputes, as well as administrative and constitutional law.

Craig’s counsel experience includes numerous appearances in the Supreme Court of Canada. As appellate counsel he has acted on appeals concerning:

  • the law of negligence (Ryan v. Victoria (City), [[1999] 1 S.C.R. 201),
  • liability of government (R. v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., 2011 SCC 42; Babcock v. Canada (Attorney General), 2002 SCC 57),
  • the constitutional division of powers (Law Society of British Columbia v. Mangat, 2001 SCC 67),
  • certification of class actions (Simsek v. United Airlines, Inc., 2017 BCCA 316),
  • arbitration (Tresoro Mining Corporation v. Mercer Gold Corp. (B.C.), 2018 BCCA 160),
  • mitigation of damages (Ueland v. Lynch, 2019 BCCA 431),
  • directors’ duties (Sonic Holdings Ltd. v. Savage, 2021 BCCA 441), and
  • foreseeability of loss (Tellini v. Bell Alliance, 2022 BCCA 106).

His varied trial experience includes claims in contract, fiduciary duty, professional negligence, fraud, defamation and breach of trust and has involved issues arising under statutes such as the Real Estate Development Marketing Act and the Environmental Management Act. His class actions experience covers areas such as product liability, alleged price fixing, consumer protection and breach of privacy claims. He has successfully represented several global or national professional services firms.

Craig regularly appears before the superior courts in British Columbia, and he also has appeared before courts in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as in Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada. Among different administrative tribunals, he has acted as counsel before:

  • the Securities Commissions of both British Columbia and Alberta,
  • the Environmental Appeal Board,
  • the Health Professions Review Board, and
  • such professional regulatory bodies as the Law Society of British Columbia and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia.

Craig also has experience as a neutral arbitrator and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Industry publications including Lexpert and Chambers consistently recognize Craig as leading counsel in the area of corporate and commercial litigation and dispute resolution, with additional recognition in the areas of class actions and product liability. Best Lawyers in Canada has recognized Craig as “Lawyer of the Year” in Administrative and Public Law, Vancouver (2015 and 2018), Product Liability Law (2022) and Class Action Litigation (2023). Craig is a fellow of the International Society of Barristers and the Litigation Counsel of America.

Craig is a frequent speaker and contributor to legal education. He has spoken and written for Continuing Legal Education on various topics, including appellate advocacy, trial advocacy, and expert evidence. He also has taught in advocacy programs put on by the Advocates’ Society and the Canadian Bar Association. He teaches in the trial advocacy course at UBC’s Allard School of Law and contributes as a speaker to the Inns of Court program for junior barristers.

As an author, Craig’s work has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada. Craig serves on the advisory board for the Class Action Defence Quarterly and has written on class actions for that journal. He is the author of the chapter on professional negligence in a work on Business Disputes published by the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia.

Craig began his legal career as a judicial law clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada for the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin (then puisne justice). He holds law degrees from the University of Toronto and Harvard Law School.

Recognition

Chambers Canada, ranked since 2016

  • 2024 – Litigation: General Commercial, Band 2
  • 2021 – General Commercial, British Columbia, Band 2
  • 2018 – Litigation: General Commercial, British Columbia, Band 2

Dennis, Craig

Chambers Global

  • 2024 – Dispute Resolution: Litigation, Band 3
  • 2023 – Dispute Resolution: Litigation, Band 4
  • 2021 – Guide to Top Litigators in Canada
  • 2018 – Dispute Resolution – Canada, Band 4

Lexpert, 2016 to 2018, 2021

  • 2021 – Consistently Recommended – Corporate Commercial
  • 2018 – Canada’s Leading Litigators
  • 2016 – Guide to Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada

Best Lawyers in Canada, recognized since 2013

  • 2023 – Lawyer of the Year, Class Action Litigation
  • 2022 – Lawyer of the Year, Product Liability Law
  • 2020 – Administrative and Public Law, Appellate Practice, Class Action Litigation, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Product Liability Law
  • 2019 – Administrative and Public Law, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Class Action Litigation, Product Liability Law
  • 2018 – Lawyer of the Year in Administrative and Public Law, Vancouver
  • 2015 – Lawyer of the Year in Administrative and Public Law, Vancouver

Benchmark Litigation, recognized since 2013

 

King’s Counsel, 2014

Education

  • LLM, Harvard University (1993)
  • LLB, University of Toronto (1990)
  • BComm, University of British Columbia (1990)

 

Associations

  • Fellow, International Society of Barristers
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Member, Advocates Society
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association, B.C. Branch

Bar Admissions

  • British Columbia (1992)
  • Ontario (1992)

Notable Cases

Tellini v. Bell Alliance, 2022 BCCA 106
Craig Dennis, K.C. and Ray Power were successful for the appellants in overturning a trial decision which found the appellants liable in negligence for the plaintiff’s (respondent’s) inability to take advantage of a Foreign Buyer’s Tax refund regime. That refund regime was announced in March 2017, subsequent to the time of the alleged negligence. The Court of Appeal accepted the argument that the trial judge had erred in failing to consider that the alleged negligent advice was not the legal or proximate cause of the plaintiff’s loss (that loss being the lost opportunity to access the refund regime).

This case serves as helpful clarification of the appropriate approach to questions of legal causation, following on the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Nelson (City) v. Marchi, 2021 SCC 41.

Campeau v. Her Majesty The Queen, 2021 FC 1449
Craig Dennis, K.C. and Ray Power successfully opposed a motion brought by the Attorney General of Canada to stay a proposed class action.

The plaintiff claims severally against Canada for the alleged unauthorized disclosure of personal and financial information belonging to Canadian taxpayers resulting from data breaches that began in the spring of 2020.

Canada brought a motion under sections 50.1 and 50(1) of the Federal Courts Act to stay the proceeding on the basis that Canada intended to bring a claim for contribution and indemnity that fell outside the jurisdiction of the Federal Court.

The Court dismissed Canada’s motion, accepting the argument that the third party claim had no possibility of success.

Section 50.1 of the Federal Courts Act is a unique provision, available only to the Attorney General of Canada, where on Canada’s motion the Federal Court “shall” stay an action brought in Federal Court so that Canada can pursue in a provincial court a third party claim or counterclaim over which the Federal Court lacks jurisdiction. This decision appears to be the first time that a motion under section 50.1 has successfully been resisted solely on the basis that Canada’s proposed claim has no possibility of success.

The action now is expected to proceed to a certification hearing in early 2022.

Smithe Residences Ltd. v. 4 Corners Properties Ltd., 2020 BCCA 227
Craig Dennis, K.C. and Ray Power successfully represented the appellant in an appeal that the Court described as raising novel issues for adding parties and amending pleadings after the expiry of a limitation period.

The Court reversed a lower court judgment and granted an application to add defendants after the expiry of a limitation period.

The appellant, 4 Corners Properties Ltd., sued both in its own name and on behalf of two other parties (the Schouw Parties) pursuant to a security agreement. After the limitation period had expired for 4 Corners to bring a separate action against the Schouw Parties, 4 Corners brought an application to amend its existing action and add a claim in debt against the Schouw Parties as defendants. The Court agreed that 4 Corners’ claim against the Schouw Parties was the basis on which 4 Corners had brought the existing action, the two claims were sufficiently connected, and it was just and convenient to permit 4 Corners’ amendment. In reaching this conclusion the Court accepted that in the circumstances the Schouw Parties could be both plaintiffs and defendants in the same action.

Wei v. Chiu et al., (8 August 2019), Vancouver S174491 (SCBC)
Craig Dennis, K.C., Owen James and Eric Aitken succeeded for the plaintiff in obtaining a multi-million dollar damages award
The award related to a fraudulent investment scheme carried out by the defendants. The underlying litigation involved claims based in fraud, conversion and breach of trust. The award concluded litigation that saw the plaintiff obtain a worldwide Mareva Order to freeze the defendants’ assets at the outset of the litigation as well as obtain (by working alongside foreign counsel) an order recognizing and enforcing the order in Hong Kong. In the course of the proceeding Craig, Owen and Eric were also successful in obtaining orders that the defendants be held in contempt of court.

Craig Dennis K.C., Owen James和Eric Aitken成功為委托人(案中原告)於有關欺詐性投資訴訟獲得數百萬賠償金。訴訟涉及基於欺詐,轉換和違反信任的索賠。該裁決讓原告在訴訟中獲得Mareva Order以凍結被告全球多區的資產,並通過與外國律師合作獲得香港高等法院確認和執行Mareva Order的法庭指令。在訴訟過程中, Craig, Owen和Eric也成功爭取被告藐視法院的法令。

Tresoro Mining Corporation v. Mercer Gold Corp. (B.C.), 2018 BCCA 160
Craig Dennis, K.C. and Owen James were successful for the appellant in an appeal concerning the effect of an arbitration clause.

The Court of Appeal reversed a decision of the Supreme Court that had refused to lift a stay of proceedings imposed in 2011 pending completion of arbitration proceedings. The Court of Appeal held that a termination order imposed by an arbitral panel for non-payment of fees does not constitute a determination of an arbitral issue on its merits; as such, it is not an “award” within the meaning of the Arbitration Act. The Court of Appeal determined that the Supreme Court had erred in law by concluding that the appellant’s claims against individual defendants could be stayed permanently by an order based on an arbitration clause in an agreement to which those defendants were not parties. The Court of Appeal held that the Supreme Court’s refusal to lift the stay of proceedings amounted to an injustice to the appellant, as it had the effect of foreclosing the appellant’s ability to have claims against the individual defendants determined on their merits.

Simsek v. United Airlines Inc., 2017 BCCA 316
Craig P. Dennis, K.C. and Owen James acted on behalf of the Respondent, United Airlines Inc. in an appeal concerning the certification of class actions.

R. v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., 2011 SCC 42
Craig P. Dennis, K.C. acted on behalf of the appellant in a case involving liability of government.

Babcock v. Canada (Attorney General), 2002 SCC 57
Craig P. Dennis, K.C. acted as appellant counsel in a case concerning the liability of government.

Law Society of British Columbia v. Mangat, 2001 SCC 67
Craig P. Dennis, K.C. appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of a respondent in a case concerning the constitutional division of powers.

Ryan v. Victoria (City), [1999] 1 S.C.R. 201
Craig P. Dennis, K.C. was appellate counsel on an appeal concerning the law of negligence.

View all Craig's cases