Pro Bono Work

We believe strongly in corporate social responsibility.  We have a dedicated pro-bono committee which vets initiatives proposed by lawyers to ensure that we are supporting quality programs in a meaningful way. Over the last three years we have contributed as many as over 450 hours to pro-bono activities.  Our dedicated pro-bono committee and the firm encourages and supports our lawyers in doing pro-bono work with various organizations including Western Canadian Society to Access Justice and the Salvation Army.

We contribute to making legal services available to those who would otherwise be unable to access them. Pro Bono Law BC has described our firm as “a strong supporter of pro-bono legal services.”

Examples of our recent work include:

  • Acting as pro-bono counsel to Can Praxis, Canada’s leading provider of equine therapy treating veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, first responders and their families struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and operational stress injury. Most recently, our pro-bono work led to Can Praxis gaining charitable status with the Canada Revenue Agency. As a registered charity, Can Praxis will be able to significantly broaden its fundraising base, allowing them to help even more veterans, first responders and their families. The pro bono efforts were led by Tim Syer, an associate in our Yellowknife office. Keith Sulzer, the articling student in our Yellowknife office, provided able assistance. As a veteran himself, Tim is passionate about veterans’ issues and the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Tim volunteers as Northwest Territories Coordinator for Wounded Warriors, the largest funding partner of Can Praxis. 
  • Providing legal advice to a society working to connect aspiring farmers with owners of unused land
  • Assisting an individual to have a Certificate of Incapacity vacated
  • Incorporating an organization that has developed technology to identify handicapped parking spaces to municipal bylaw officials for ticketing as a charity for tax purposes
  • Representing the Canadian Bar Association in a long pro bono retainer at all levels of court. In this case, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada challenged the constitutionality of provisions of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and its Regulations that would require lawyers to record client information about certain transactions involving the receipt or payment of funds by lawyers, and which purport to authorize wide-ranging warrantless searches of lawyers’ offices by FINTRAC to ensure compliance with the Act and Regulations. The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision reaffirmed the protection of the solicitor-client relationship from state interference, and recognizes a lawyer’s duty of commitment to their client’s cause as a principle of fundamental justice. The decision was a significant development in constitutional jurisprudence in Canada
  • Representing the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) as intervener in A.B. v. Bragg Communications Inc., 2012 SCC 46. In that case, a 15 year old girl sought assistance from the courts to uncover the identity of the person who created a fake Facebook profile of her containing allegedly defamatory remarks. What made the case unique is that A.B. sought to proceed with her action anonymously and with a publication ban over the contents of the fake profile. A unanimous Court agreed with the BCCLA’s position that any harm to A.B. from having to reveal her identity could be avoided by allowing her to proceed anonymously, but that freedom of expression and the open courts principle required publication of the fake profile. The case is an important benchmark in clarifying when an anonymity order or publication ban will be available to minor victims of online sexualized bullying seeking a remedy in the courts
 

In 2010, Lawson Lundell won Gold at the Lexpert Pro Bono Zenith Awards honouring pro-bono contributions in the Civil Liberties category for our work with the BC Civil Liberties Association in the following cases:

  • Chamberlain v. Surrey School District No. 36, 2002 SCC 86, [2002] 4 S.C.R. 710
  • Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority v. Canadian Federation of Students — British Columbia Component, 2009 SCC 31, [2009] 2 S.C.R. 295
  • Victoria (City) v. Adams, 2009 BCCA 563