Civil litigation


If you have been sued or may need to sue someone, start by getting good advice from a lawyer experienced in all aspects of civil litigation. Understand your options.

I start by listening, so that I will understand your goals, your needs, your fears. I ask questions to probe for facts and complexities. Then I can advise you on the legal issues and propose the best ways to achieve your objectives. I work out a plan for your success that may or may not include litigation.

Call now for a prompt appointment. At the end of our initial consultation, you will know your options and the next steps to take.

I have been sued.

Once you receive papers for a lawsuit, you must act quickly. You must either settle the claim or file and serve your defence, often within only twenty days; otherwise the case may proceed without you, and you may lose.

In Alberta, most civil suits are commenced in either the Provincial Court or the Court of Queen’s Bench. Your papers will indicate the court. The Provincial Court hears primarily small claims, with a value no greater than $50 000. Often these claims are too small to justify the cost of a lawyer’s services. During an initial consultation, I can tell you whether you need a lawyer and, if not, how to handle the matter on your own.

If your suit is before the Court of Queen’s Bench, you are more likely to need legal representation. Consider arranging an initial consultation. For a modest fee, you can get preliminary advice and know the next steps to take.

You can do more than defending the claim. For example, you can bring a claim of your own (a counterclaim) against the person who has sued you, or you can draw other people into the lawsuit. Consider getting legal advice on your rights and your options.

How can I sue someone?

First, we need to determine whether you should sue. Do you have a valid case? Can you prove your claim? If you win, will you be able to collect what the court awards you? Is your case worth the trouble and expense of suing? Is there a better way to solve your problem? Before taking action, I want to answer questions such as these.

To sue someone, you must first determine the correct jurisdiction (place) and court in which to start your lawsuit. Then you must file a claim within the limitation period, which in Alberta is often only two years from the incident that gave rise to your claim. The papers that you file must outline the legal basis for your claim and typically also the facts on which you wish to rely. They must also state what you want the court to give you. Usually you must pay the court a fee for filing your claim. You must also have a copy of the filed papers served upon the parties that you are suing.

After that, the procedures become too complicated and varied for this short summary.

You may be wise to seek legal advice promptly, especially if your claim is large or complex. You can get good preliminary advice from an initial consultation.

Will my matter go to court?

Possibly, but the vast majority of lawsuits are settled without a trial. I typically try to negotiate a fair settlement in order to achieve a good result while saving you time, money, stress, and unpleasantness. If negotiations break down, we may try to resolve the case through alternative means such as mediation and judicial dispute resolution. Sometimes it is even possible to win in court without going through a trial, such as by having a case handled summarily.

What sorts of matters do you handle?

I practise general civil litigation, with a focus on complex, difficult cases (including appeals). I have won great results for clients like you in many areas of the law. Most of my cases, however, fall into the following categories:

  • Employment & labour
  • Professional malpractice
  • Personal injuries
  • Commercial and contractual disputes
  • Appeals

What should I bring to my initial consultation?

Please bring all documents that seem relevant, including contracts, receipts, letters, and notes. If you have been sued, please be sure to bring the papers that have been served upon you: I need to read those papers in order to give you the best advice.

Also consider preparing some notes about the history of the dispute and the outcome that you would like.


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