Owen's Assistant

Wenny Lai

Paralegal Assistant

wlai@djacounsel.com

Direct: (604) 659-9486

Biography

Owen James is a commercial litigator. He regularly acts in complex corporate-commercial disputes, with a particular focus on class actions and real estate and environmental disputes.

The corporate-commercial litigation Owen has successfully handled for clients has involved a range of matters, including contractual claims, shareholder actions, fraud claims and product liability claims.  

Owen has appeared as counsel at the trial courts of a number of Canadian provinces and at the appellate levels in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario, as well as at the Supreme Court of Canada. He has also acted for clients in domestic and commercial arbitrations and before various administrative tribunals, including the Environmental Appeal Board, the Forest Appeals Commission, the Real Estate Council of BC, the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC and the Safety Standards Appeal Board.  

Owen regularly contributes to legal education initiatives. He has spoken and written for Continuing Legal Education, including authoring and editing chapters in the Annual Review of Law and Practice and the British Columbia Civil Trial Handbook. He also sits on the Editorial Board of the Provincial Court Small Claims Handbook. He has written on a range of topics for The International Who’s Who of Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyers, CCH Tax Topics, Canadian Property Management, Pacific Business Law Institute and has also presented on topics relating to his practice.  

Before joining Craig Dennis, KC and Eric Aitken as founding partners at DJA Counsel, Owen practiced at an international law firm and spent six years at a commercial and securities litigation boutique in Vancouver. He also formerly clerked for several justices of the British Columbia Supreme Court.

Education

  • LLB, University of British Columbia (2005)
  • BA, Simon Fraser University (2001)

Associations

  • Member, Canadian Bar Association
  • Member, Law Society of British Columbia
  • Member, Vancouver Bar Association
  • Member, Environmental Managers Association of British Columbia
  • Member, Urban Development Institute

Bar Admissions

  • British Columbia, 2007

Notable Cases

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。

Meszaros v. 464235 B.C. Ltd., 2018 BCSC 2033
Owen James successful for the respondent in an application to set aside an arbitration award.

In the underlying arbitration, the respondent numbered company was awarded various amounts arising from the sale of an engineering business. The petitioner, Meszaros, sought to set aside that award on the ground the arbitrator failed to abide by rules of natural justice in the course of the arbitration and, in his award, committed various errors of law. In dismissing the petitioner’s application, the court found that the approach taken by the arbitrator below was fair, and that in finding for the numbered company he did not commit errors of law justifying that leave be granted.

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.

Pan Afric Holdings and The Executive Inn Hotels General Partnership v. Athabasca Holdings Ltd., 2018 BCCA 113
Owen James alongside Ken McEwen, K.C. of McEwan Partners were successful for the appellant hotelier and developers.

The BC Court of Appeal held that the Supreme Court had erred in determining that the appellant’s action was barred by res judicata and constituted an abuse of process. The underlying action related to existing restrictions between owners of adjoining development properties, and the effect of resolution of a separate dispute between the parties concerning joint plans for future development.

Simsek v. United Airlines Inc., 2015 BCSC 1453 aff’d 2017 BCCA 316

Succeeded at trial and on the subsequent appeal for a defendant airline in certification proceedings under the Class Proceedings Act.

Craig Dennis, K.C. and Owen James were successful in upholding, on appeal, the decision of the judge of first instance to deny certification of a class proceeding against an international airline. The underlying action sought to recoup amounts paid in respect of fuel surcharges in respect of international air travel that were described as a ‘tax’ on ticket receipts despite the charges being included by the airline.

The judge of first instance denied certification on the basis, among others, that the pleadings disclosed no cause of action, and that there were no common issues that could be efficiently decided in a class proceeding. The BC Court of Appeal, in dismissing the appeal, found that the pleadings did not completely articulate the plaintiffs’ cause of action, but conceivably could have, but that certification should be denied given that the plaintiffs had not identified a common issue appropriate to a class proceeding.

Vancouver (City) v. Robinson, 2013 BCSC 1224

Succeeded at trial and on the subsequent appeal for a plaintiff in an action for damages in nuisance against the City of Vancouver.

Century Services Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General), 2010 SCC 60

Succeeded in appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada for a secured lender in a case involving priority of unremitted GST proceeds in a failed restructuring under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

Dawydiuk v. I.C.B.C., 2009 BCSC 1259 var’d 2010 BCCA 353

Succeeded in defence of an employer in respect of a claim for wrongful dismissal brought by a former employee.

R. v. Haptom, 2008 BCPC 339

Succeeded in defence of a lottery retailer charged under the Gaming Control Act.

British Columbia v. Hyland and Haptom, 2008 BCPC 126

Succeeded in defence of an individual in a forfeiture application in respect of property under the Criminal Code.

Tembec Enterprises v. British Columbia, Decision No. 2008-FOR-011(a), 2009 BCFAC 7

Succeeded in defence of a forestry company in administrative  proceedings under the Forest Range and Practices Act.

View all Owen's cases