Federal Appeal


Professions and Occupations

Barristers and solicitors

Relationship with client

Motion for removal of law firm was dismissed

In 2008 plaintiffs sought representation in respect of Canadian patent pending and possible infringement claim. One of plaintiffs, CS, contacted lawyer at law firm. Lawyer informed CS that he would have to complete standard conflict check. Lawyer informed CS that he could not act for plaintiffs due to conflict of interest. Lawyer provided CS with recommendations as to potential law firms to represent plaintiffs. Law firm was later appointed as solicitors of record for defendants in ongoing matter opposing parties. In 2015, plaintiffs brought motion for removal of law firm on basis of 2008 interactions between CS and lawyer. Prothonotary dismissed motion. Federal Court dismissed plaintiffs’ appeal. Plaintiffs appealed. Appeal dismissed. Prothonotary found lawyer established that no information was imparted which could be relevant to underlying dispute. Although lawyer could not recall in detail seven year old conversation, prothonotary found that he was seasoned lawyer accustomed to his firm’s conflict of interest review procedure. His handwritten notes taken during phone call corroborated his position that no advice or counselling was given or sought, and that information given was general in nature. Prothonotary’s conclusion was open to him on evidence provided.

Sikes v. EnCana Corp. (2017), 2017 CarswellNat 444, 2017 FCA 37, Marc Noël C.J., Richard Boivin J.A., and Yves de Montigny J.A. (F.C.A.); affirmed (2016), 2016 CarswellNat 2708, 2016 FC 671, B. Richard Bell J. (F.C.).

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