December 2013 – Billington Barristers completes appointment by Court in complex commercial matter.
Billington Barristers has completed its engagement as Independent Supervising Solicitor in the case Catalyst Systems v. Catalyst Canada Inc. As Independent Supervising Solicitor (ISS), Richard Billington, QC headed a legal team that executed an Anton Piller Order simultaneously in three different towns, in a total of five business or residential premises.
The appointment as ISS, made by Justice Ron Stevens, required Billington Barristers to act independently of counsel for either the Plaintiff or Defendants in conducting a search for, seizure and analysis of possible evidence in a commercial dispute. The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants had misappropriated confidential and proprietary documents, information and corporate opportunities. Richard Billington, QC and his associates assembled a team of bailiffs, computer forensic experts and Chartered Accountants to aid the Court.
The Anton Piller Order is a specialized form of injunction issued by the Court in an ex parte application. (That is, in a court application in which the Defendants do not yet know that legal proceedings have been commenced against them). The Plaintiff's lawyer must satisfy the court that there is a very real risk that if the Defendants are given advance notice that they are being sued, they would hide or destroy evidence that is only in their hands and which is of critical importance to the Plaintiff's ability to prove its case. Once the Court is satisfied that such a risk exists, an Independent Supervising Solicitor is appointed who serves the Order on the Defendants. The ISS also explains the order to the Defendants, as they may otherwise be unable to obtain a lawyer who is familiar with the Anton Piller process. The ISS then directs a team of computer forensic analysts and bailiffs to search for and seize evidence from the businesses, homes, electronic devices and vehicles of the Defendants. The ISS is empowered to command police to attend in order to keep the peace at the scene of the search, although the police do not conduct the search themselves.
After the search and seizure has been concluded, the ISS will work with the computer forensic team and with Chartered Accountants to analyze the seized information in order to protect any documents that are privileged or irrelevant to the litigation, so that the Plaintiff only gets to see documents that are material evidence in the litigation. The ISS brings documents of questionable admissibility to the Court before the Plaintiff is permitted to see them.
The ISS reports to the Court, and to counsel for both sides, reporting findings, developing procedures to refine the investigation and analysis of vast amounts of computer data, and otherwise acting as an impartial intermediary on issues requested by the litigants.
Richard Billington, QC has had several appointments as ISS from the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta, and the Federal Court. He is also experienced in acting for Plaintiffs in commercial fraud or internet defamation cases requiring Anton Piller Orders, and in acting for defendants in setting aside improperly obtained Anton Piller Orders. His work in this area of law has also involved cases in Ontario and Saskatchewan.
December 2013 – Billington Barristers awarded recognition for top litigation boutique in Alberta.
Acquisition International, a London England based monthly magazine dedicated to global industry analysis of financial transaction professionals has recognized Billington Barristers as the top litigation boutique in Alberta. Jane Peter, Chief Coordinator of the 2013 Legal Awards stated “the year has not been without its challenges for the legal community but it’s clear from the evidence received that the industry’s professionals have risen to the challenge”. Acquisition International’s legal awards identify and honour success, innovation and ethics across international legal and business communities.
The methodology used was described as follows, “the awards are given solely on merit and are awarded to commend those most deserving for outstanding work over the last 12 months. Our awards recognized leaders in their respective fields and, crucially, are nominated by their clients and their peers. Our winners are determined by three factors, the first of which is the number of votes received. The voting forms were distributed to the 53,000 plus subscribers of Acquisition International Magazine along with 180,000 legal professionals. The second factor is our substantial in-house research. This is a vital stage because we accept both self and third party nominations. Thirdly, we ask the nominees to supply supporting documents which they feel may cement their nominations – all items we are sent are taken into consideration.“
Billington Barristers is a focused team who concentrate on obtaining precedent setting judicial remedies to vigorously protect their clients’ interests.
November 2013 – Billington Barristers welcomes Simon Shakibaei
Billington Barristers is pleased to welcome to Simon Shakibaei to the firm. Simon was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 2013 and will be assisting senior counsel at Billington Barristers in complex litigation matters.
Simon also will be handling trials and contested chambers applications. Simon’s practice will include work in the areas of shareholder oppression, oil & gas disputes, family law, injunctions and corporate commercial litigation. Simon is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick Law School. Richard Billington, Q.C. head of Billington Barristers stated “we are pleased to have Simon as a member of our team. We look forward to introducing him to our clients. We are eager to have his knowledge, skills and personality as part of our team.”
September 2013 – Billington Barristers Marks 30 Years of Support for Faculty of Law Mooting and Debating
The Faculty of Law has again invited Richard N. Billington, Q.C to conduct debate instruction and to adjudicate at the law school’s annual debate competition. This event, pitting 30 teams from within all 3 years of the law school against one another focuses on oral advocacy. Cross examination and final summation skills are emphasized. The Blackstone Debates were commenced 33 years ago under the initiative of the Honourable Judge Irwin Blackstone. After winning the first 3 tournaments Richard Billington, Q.C. and his partner, the late Geoffry Baker, Q.C. donated a cup in recognition of the outstanding oral advocate in the competition. Winners of over the past 30 years have become leaders in the legal profession, politics and business.
This year Richard N. Billington, Q.C of Billington Barristers and Susan Billington, Q.C. of the Law Society of Alberta will be conducting a weekend seminar to train students to focus their argument and develop strong advocacy skills. They will then adjudicate at the final round of competition at which the Blackstone medals and the Baker Billington Cup will be presented.
August 2013 – Announcement
In late 2012, a foreign multi-national heavy equipment broker retained Billington Barristers to pursue a fraud claim against a sub-broker located in Alberta. The fraudster employed a variety of schemes, such as shipping damaged or used equipment instead of the remanufactured items that our client had ordered, to defraud the client of a substantial amount of money. The fraudster’s actions also harmed the heavy equipment broker’s reputation with its long-standing customers.
The customers of our client carried on operations in remote third world locations, and there was considerable lag time between the date equipment was ordered and paid for by the client and the date that it was delivered to the client’s customers work sites for inspection. The fraudster altered documentation and provided false shipping information in order to further delay discovery. This was a complex fraud that involved some 100 transactions carried out over a period in excess of 2 years. The documentation was extensive, and the witnesses resided in several different U.S. states as well as overseas.
Billington Barristers was successful in obtaining a Court Order freezing the assets of the fraudster and his corporation. After securing the assets and restricting the fraudster’s ability to carry on business, settlement discussions were conducted. This resulted in the successful recovery of damages from the fraudster, the fraudster has ceased business operations, and because of the settlement our client has been able to conclude this matter without the delay and expense of trial.
Billington Barristers has significant experience in fighting fraud, and the firm is pleased to have successfully concluded this claim.
July 2013 – Richard Hayles Legal Blog
Richard Hayles of Billington Barristers has started blogging! His blog, updated from time to time, focuses on Insurance, Commercial Litigation and other legal topics. It can be found at http://calgarylawyer.blogspot.ca/
March 2013 – Queen’s Bench Appoints Billington Barristers as Independent Supervising Solicitor in Complex Anton Piller Matter.
Billington Barristers has again been appointed by the Court to oversee a complex Anton Piller Order, this time involving the simultaneous execution of the order in three different towns, and in five locations.
Justice Paul Jeffrey of the Court of Queen’s Bench appointed Richard Billington, QC to supervise the process, which is informally known as a civil search warrant. The search involved the gathering, analysis and reporting to the Court on large volumes of paper and electronic documents in the matter of Catalyst Canada Services LP et al. v. Catalyst Changers Inc. et al.
Richard Billington, QC has been appointed as Independent Supervising Solicitor (ISS) on many occasions by both the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta and by Federal Court. The Billington Barristers team have particularly extensive experience in this area of the law, whether as ISS or in successfully acting for plaintiffs or defendants in several dozen Anton Piller Orders, Mareva Injunctions or Norwich Pharmacal extraordinary orders.
October 2012 – Billington Barristers congratulates Susan Billington, QC on Award:
Susan V. R. Billington, QC has been named as an award recipient of the Women in Law Leadership Awards. The award recognizes Susan’s contribution to the legal profession and community in the category of Leadership in the Profession (Broader Roles). The Award will be presented at a banquet on November 1, 2012 in Calgary.
For more details about the Women in Law Leadership Award, click here: http://www.willawards.ca/default.asp
October 2012 – Billington Barristers welcomes Richard Hayles
Richard Billington, QC, head of Billington Barristers is pleased to announce that Richard Hayles has joined the firm as counsel. Richard is an experienced insurance and commercial litigation lawyer who has relocated his practice from Toronto. He is the author of Disability Insurance: Canadian Law and Business Practice , published by Carswell. Richard adds recognized insurance expertise and brings his substantial litigation background to Billington Barristers. “With the addition of Richard Hayles to Billington Barristers’ team, we continue to increase the breadth of our firm’s litigation experience. Richard will be valuable counsel for our business and individual clients” said Rick Billington. Billington Barristers was recognized by Canadian Lawyer Magazine (April, 2012) as one of Canada’s top litigation boutique law firms.
July 2012 – Rick Billington to seek Conservative nomination in Calgary Centre.
Rick Billington, QC of Billington Barristers has announced that he will seek to become the Conservative candidate to fill the vacant seat in Parliament for Calgary Centre. Billington, a senior courtroom lawyer has long been active in the federal Conservative Party. He is currently an Alberta member of the Conservative’s National Policy Committee, and is a long serving director of the Prime Minister’s riding association. He has practiced in Calgary Centre for over 25 years. Billington said “In addition to my experience in the Party, I bring a focus on the economy and on Canada’s place in the world. I will bring professional, proven and powerful skills to fight for Calgary Centre’s interests”.
Billington was recently the Master of Ceremonies at the Stephen Harper Stampede Barbeque, his sixth time doing so.
Billington’s campaign website is www.BillingtonForParliament.ca
June 2012 – Coby Schneider joins Billington Barristers
Coby Schneider, an experienced intellectual property (IP) lawyer, has joined Billington Barristers. In addition to a strong background in copyright, trademark, trade secrets, and patent protection strategy and business development, Coby brings IP litigation experience. Rick Billington, head of Billington Barristers said “Coby Schneider has substantial experience in developing intellectual property strategies for clients. She also has significant litigation experience that fits Billington Barristers’ background in the enforcement of IP rights through litigation. Coby’s presence in our firm enhances Billington Barristers as counsel of choice in IP injunctions, in acting as counsel for either plaintiffs or defendants in IP disputes, and in acting on behalf of the Court of Queen’s Bench or Federal Court in the special capacity as Independent Supervising Solicitor in Anton Piller search and seizure matters. I am particularly pleased to have one of my law school classmates in the firm”.
Ms. Schneider’s profile and contact information can be viewed in the “Our Team” page of this website.
June 2012 – Billington Barristers welcomes summer student Faisel Syed.
Billington Barristers is committed to the mentorship of future and junior lawyers, and to that end are delighted to welcome Faisel Syed as a summer student for 2012. Mr. Syed, a student at University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law, joins us to observe a litigation boutique from within, and to assist on research and client matters as directed by our lawyers. Welcome Faisel!
April 2012 - Canadian Lawyer Magazine Awards Honourable Mention to Billington Barristers in 2012 listing of Canada’s Top Litigation Boutiques.
Following its first nomination in Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s annual survey of the nation’s top litigation boutiques, Billington Barristers has been awarded Honourable Mention, placing it in the company of only 12 other Canadian litigation boutiques.
Canadian Lawyer described its selection process “We ran a short online survey and from there, we drew on the experience of in-house counsel and large-firm lawyers who refer work to these boutiques, conducting a series of confidential interviews to identify the cream of the crop.”
Rick Billington, QC, head of Billington Barristers said “We are particularly pleased to have been awarded honourable mention in this survey. Our focus is on innovative judicial remedies for complex energy, corporate, equitable and insolvency issues. We have developed an efficient team tailored to address our client’s litigation needs.”
Billington Barristers is one of four western Canadian firms named, and one of thirteen nationally. The firm’s client base is focused on western Canada and Ontario.
The 2012 Canadian Lawyer Award article can be viewed at:
March 2012 – Billington Barristers Litigation Team: Experienced Shareholder Oppression Counsel.
The past two years have seen a substantial increase in the number of actions being conducted in Alberta in which it is alleged that corporate directors or managers have acted oppressively or with unfair prejudice to the interests of corporate stakeholders, including shareholders, fellow directors and affiliated corporations. Billington Barristers, led by Richard N. Billington, QC have significant experience in conducting these actions. Remedies can include actions to force the accounting for the misappropriation of a business opportunity, to appoint a receiver to oversee the affairs of a corporation, and to secure the secret (in camera) appointment of an investigation by the Court to examine a business when there are grounds to believe that fraud may be occurring, but where proof of fraud isn’t yet available to the applicant. Judd Blitt of Billington Barristers is an integral part of our firm’s team to provide rapid, effective and innovative litigation solutions to our clients, to Trustees in Bankruptcy or Receivers, or in consultation with in-house counsel.
March 2012 – Billington Barristers welcomes Judd Blitt
Judd Blitt has joined the team at Billington Barristers. Judd is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta and has practiced in Calgary since then. His experience compliments our client’s requirements, with experience in appeals, trials and chambers applications, particularly in the area of corporate litigation, Oil & Gas disputes and in respect to investment and banking litigation, including negligence claims against Investment Advisors. Rick Billington, QC, head of Billington Barristers said “We are delighted to welcome Judd to our boutique. He brings substantial courtroom experience and an excellent capacity to communicate as both an oral and written advocate. Judd’s commercial litigation background enhances the depth of representation we provide to our clients. I look forward to introducing Judd Blitt to our clients and professional contacts”.
March 2012 - Billington to address Entrepreneur Organization Calgary on Commercial Fraud
March is fraud prevention month. Rick Billington, QC will participate in a panel discussion on commercial fraud at Hotel Arts on March 6, 2012. The event, which will include forensic accountant Brian Tario of MNP, forensic investigator Iain Kenny of MNP and lawyer Steve Major of Bennett Jones LLP will be held at Hotel Arts. Billington is recognized setting precedent in litigation to combat commercial fraud and misappropriation of intellectual property. The panel will focus on technical advances in fraud and computer tools to fight it, together with judicial remedies to enable investigators to be able to counter the most recent innovations in corporate and commercial fraud.
February 2012 - Billington-Baker Cup awarded at University of Calgary Law School
The trophy for top debater at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law was awarded on February 7, at the annual Blackstone Debates. Alastair MacKinnon was presented with the Billington-Baker cup by Richard Billington, QC of Billington Barristers. The Blackstone medals for top team were awarded to Lily Rabinovitch and Tim Stock-Bateman, and were awarded by Tema Blackstone, daughter of the founder of the Blackstone debates, Hon. Irwin Blackstone. The final debate was adjudicated by Susan V.R. Billington, QC, a past winner of the Blackstone debate and law school dean Ian Holloway, QC, together with Richard Billington. The cup for top oralist was donated by the late Geoff Baker, QC and Rick Billington, QC who have been the only team to win the Blackstone medals in each of their three years of law school. To view the University’s link about the event, click here:(LINK)
February 2012 – Billington Barristers nominated for top litigation boutique in Canada
Canadian Legal Newswire, publisher of Canadian Lawyer and Law Times magazines, has nominated Billington Barristers in its survey of the top ten litigation boutiques in Canada. Our firm is one of only five boutiques on the prairies to be nominated, and one of only four Alberta firms receiving a nomination. Said Rick Billington, QC: “we are pleased to receive this recognition of the innovative approach that we take to our pursuit of judicial remedies on behalf of our clients. We have a skilled, compact team of professionals who focus on overcoming adverse situations faced by our clients.”
You can participate in the survey up to February 14, 2012 at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Y53WXTP. Results will be published in the April issue of Canadian Lawyer.
Billington Barristers focuses on corporate commercial litigation, and is often at the forefront of developing and implementing judicial remedies to fight fraud. The firm has recognized experience in injunctions, particularly Anton Piller Orders, Mareva injunctions and receiverships, acting for plaintiffs, defendants, receivers and we have been appointed by both Queen’s Bench and the Federal Court as Independent Supervising Solicitor in complex fraud cases. Our practice includes corporate insolvency and restructuring (acting for trustees, creditors and debtors) commercial real estate litigation, shareholder oppression, breach of fiduciary duties and Oil & Gas disputes, including litigation and arbitration. We are a dedicated team based in Calgary, which regularly conducts cases throughout western Canada and Ontario. In addition to his extensive trial and appellate experience, Richard Billington QC is also a trained arbitrator and mediator. Known for “Experienced Litigation Counsel” Billington Barristers is sometimes referred to informally as “Injunctions R’ Us”.
January 2012 – Billington Moderates Ethical Oil Debate
Alberta lawyers viewed a showcase debate on the ethics of oilsands development, moderated by Richard N. Billington, QC of Billington Barristers. Greenpeace activist Mike Hudema and journalist Ezra Levant debated the resolution: “That the Oilsands/Tarsands are the most Ethical Oil on Earth” at the Alberta Law Conference held in Calgary on January 27, 2012.
Levant, currently with Sun News Network, is the author of “Shakedown”, a book about Canada’s Human Rights Commissions, and “Ethical Oil”, a book about environmentalism and the Alberta oil sands. Hudema works with Greenpeace in Edmonton, and has participated in the Occupy Edmonton protest. Billington heads the corporate and commercial litigation firm of Billington Barristers and is a champion debater.
The debate featured a unique format in which Billington cross-examined both debaters, as well as put questions from the audience of lawyers. To view the CBA link about the Alberta Law Conference and debate, click here: http://www.cba.org/alberta/main/pdf/ALCBrochure2012.pdf .
November, 2011 – Richard Billington, QC to speak at Faculty of Law.
Rick Billington (class of 1983) will be instructing law students in oral advocacy and debate techniques at a session to be held at the Faculty of Law, University of Calgary in January 2012. “Secrets of the Blackstone Debates” will be taught along with Susan V. R. Billington, QC (class of 1985). The session will prepare law students for the annual Faculty of Law debating championship, the Blackstone Debates. The top oralist in the competition will be awarded the Baker/Billington Cup, contributed by the late Geoff Baker, QC and Richard Billington, QC.
October, 2011 – Billington Barristers represents Trustee of Orion Industries Ltd.
Orion Industries Ltd. was petitioned into Bankruptcy on June 28, 2011. Richard Billington, QC has been appointed as counsel for the Trustee in Bankruptcy, Grant Thornton Alger Inc. A listing of court filings, including Trustees Reports is maintained on the website of the Trustee. It can be viewed by clicking here:
August 2011 – Billington Barristers says farewell to our summer student, Tahir Chaudhary
Tahir has successfully completed his summer student term with Billington Barristers. We wish Tahir all the best in his third year of studies in the faculty of law at the University of Calgary.
July 2011 – Richard Billington, Q.C. to Chair the Alberta Law Conference Advanced Advocacy Skills Panel
Alberta lawyers annually gather at the Alberta Law Conference in order to participate in continuing professional development, to discuss ethical and practical issues facing lawyers, and to recognize outstanding contributions to society and the profession. Richard Billington, Q.C. will be chairing the Advanced Advocacy Skills Panel at the upcoming conference, to be held in Calgary in January, 2012. The panel will include Hon. Mr. Justice Belzil of the Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton and Robert Hawkes of JSS Barristers, Calgary.
Rick Billington’s presentation provides observations on advocacy gained through almost 3 decades of litigating precedent setting cases, including comments on persuading judges, cross-examination of witnesses, advocacy in emergency applications and of the nature of advocacy in other forums, including in mediation, arbitration and negotiations.
To view the Alberta Conference Brochure, click here:
May 2011 – Billington Barristers welcomes Tahir Chaudhary as a summer student
Rick Billington is pleased to welcome Tahir Chaudhary to the firm as a summer student. He will be here from May through August of 2011, and will be conducting research and assisting the lawyers of Billington Barristers.
Tahir is a second-year law student at the University of Calgary. His interests include commercial and general civil litigation, energy law, employment law, property law, and contract law.
Before attending law school, Tahir completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at the University of Calgary. Tahir previously worked as a computer network administrator and a sales manager in the electronics industry. His experience also includes a stint as a legal assistant at a personal injury law firm
Said Rick Billington, “I am particularly pleased to have Tahir join us as I have great respect for his academic accomplishments, which include winning the Blackstone Debate Medal at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law’s annual debating championship. His skill in oral advocacy indicates his ability to critically analyse complex problems and to quickly present creative solutions. We emphasize those skills at Billington Barristers.”
Tahir’s contact information can be found on the “Our Team” page of this site.
March 2011 – Richard Billington, Q.C. judges final round of Canadian Jessup International Moot
As part of Billington Barristers’ commitment to the mentorship of young lawyers, Richard Billington, Q.C. adjudicated at the final Canadian round of the White & Case Canadian National Division Qualifying Tournament of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, held in Calgary. This competition between top students of 15 Canadian law schools dealt with an international complaint between two states where predator drone attacks on terrorists and separatists, interference with religious and cultural clothing, and violations of OECD guidelines on the conduct of multinational enterprises were all addressed in a single scenario. This year’s moot was “Concerning the Zetian Provinces”.
Adjudicators at the finals included Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, Federal Court of Appeal, Alberta Court of Appeal, and Court of Queen’s Bench, as well as senior academics and practitioners from across the nation. The top teams will represent Canada in the International Final, in Washington, DC.
March 2011 – Extraordinary Remedies to Combat Shareholder Oppression, Corporate Fraud and Breach of Fiduciary Obligations
Richard Billington, Q.C. has significant experience in employing remedies in cases where shareholders have grounds to believe that their rights have been oppressed, or where their interests may have been dealt with fraudulently, and he frequently speaks on these remedies to professional associations and academic conferences on his expertise. All lawyers in Billington Barristers are familiar with obtaining court orders that permit in camera (secret) investigations to determine whether the affairs of a corporation, including whether the officers thereof, have acted in a manner that is oppressive, unfairly prejudicial or fraudulent in respect to the interests of security holders. Because the complainant often does not have sufficient information to directly allege that such inappropriate conduct has occurred, the law permits in camera investigations so that the truth may be discovered. If no inappropriate conduct is established, then the corporation or director who were the subject of the investigation have not been subject to a public process. If, however, malfeasance is established, then such reports become evidence of the wrongdoing, and the court is often willing to grant a broad range of remedies, including removing or replacing directors, ordering the valuation and forced sale of shares, tracing corporate assets, and appointing a receiver over the affairs of the business. Other remedies can be tailored to effect a just and equitable result.
February 2011 - Richard Billington, Q.C. Addresses National Conference
Rick Billington addressed the Canadian Institute’s conference on Provincial and Municipal Liability, held in Toronto on February 8 and 9, 2011. He was invited to address this national audience on two issues of current prominence in Canadian law. First on the issue of municipal and provincial authority and liability arising when objects blow or fall off of buildings under construction. For the second topic, he spoke on his work in developing legal remedies for municipalities when they have been faced with developers who have become insolvent and abandoned major excavations that pose safety and environmental hazards.
Rick Billington developed a litigation strategy for the City of Calgary to deal with difficulties encountered with developers who fail to address Orders issued by the municipality, and which avoided the significant cost that would have been incurred by taxpayers if the city had to step in to cure defaults by insolvent property owners. He has often presented to national conferences on matters of municipal law, extraordinary judicial remedies and insolvency. The Web site for the Canadian Institute is www.canadianinstitute.com.
October 2010 – Mandatory Mediation of Civil Disputes – Richard N. Billington, Q.C. as Mediator
The New Rules of Court require litigants in all Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta civil actions to participate in mandatory mediation of their claim before it may be entered for trial. Counsel wishing to avoid the wait for mediation through the Calgary Courts Centre are able to retain private mediators to conduct their required mediation. Richard N. Billington, Q.C. is an experienced civil litigation lawyer who is trained in mediation, having completed all civil mediation courses offered by the Legal Education Society of Alberta, and who is also a member of and trained through the Alberta Arbitration and Mediation Society and the ADR Institute of Canada.
Rick Billington’s practice has included experience in oil and gas disputes, corporate and commercial litigation, breach of fiduciary duties, personal injury, medical malpractice, injunctions, bankruptcy and insolvency matters, employment disputes, intellectual property disputes, and defamation.
Billington Barristers is conveniently located one block from the Calgary Courts Centre, and our facilities include boardroom and break-out rooms for mediation. Interested parties are welcome to contact Rick Billington at RBillington@BillingtonBarristers.com.
October 2010 – Billington Barristers moves to Elveden House
Billington Barristers has relocated its office within downtown Calgary, to 1910 Elveden House. 717 – 7th Avenue S.W. Calgary, Alberta, T2P 0Z3.
The new location, one block away from the Calgary Courts Centre, is in the heart of the downtown core. Our new office is particularly suitable for conducting mandatory mediations of civil disputes, which are required by the new Alberta Rules of Court that come into effect at the end of this month. Parties employing the services of Richard N. Billington, Q.C. as mediator will be able to avail themselves of our boardroom and separate break-out rooms where caucusing may take place.
All E-mail addresses will remain the same. Temporarily, phone numbers will remain unchanged, and it is anticipated that new telephone numbers will be implemented by the third week of October. All information posted on this firm’s website under “Contact Us” will be current..
July 2010 - Award of Significant Court Costs Enhances Arbitration Clauses, Abuse of Process nets Single and Double Solicitor and Own Client Costs
The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta has imposed significant punishment on plaintiffs who proceeded with litigation in court rather than limit their claim to an arbitration process, as required by contract. Billington Barristers, acting for the Defendant obtained a dismissal of the Plaintiffs’ action on the first day of trial. Subsequently, the Plaintiffs were ordered to pay Billington Barristers’ client costs on a “solicitor-and-own-client” basis (that is, to reimburse every dollar of legal fees and disbursements incurred by the Defendant) for all steps in the litigation process, and “double solicitor-and-own-client” costs for every step taken by the Defendant after a formal offer of settlement had been tendered prior to trial.
Mr. Justice D. Miller imposed the rare and harsh costs award in recognition that the Plaintiffs’ action was an abuse of process. The dispute was about whether a house had been properly constructed, and the agreement between the parties specified that any dispute between them was to be resolved by arbitration. The Plaintiffs (the purchasers), brought certain complaints to arbitration, but after the arbitrator issued his decision, they sued the builder. In the decision (Memorandum of Judgment) the Court agreed with the position urged by Richard N. Billington, Q.C. at trial, that even if the Plaintiffs had not raised a complaint in the arbitration proceeding, they were required to have done so, and that it was improper to engage in litigation.
The Court, in a subsequent, companion decision (Costs Memorandum), found that because the Plaintiffs had abused the judicial system, and because they failed to deal with all of their complaints by way of arbitration, the Defendant must recover every dollar of litigation expense. Even more so, the Defendant was to recover double every dollar of litigation expense for all steps taken after the date on which a formal offer to settle was given to the Plaintiffs. The successful Defendant was represented at trial by Richard N. Billington, Q.C. and Monique Morin of Billington Barristers. Said Richard Billington, Q.C. after the judgment:
These decisions provide real strength to arbitration clauses. An agreement to arbitrate is not to be ignored. The award of costs that fully indemnifies the successful party is a rare departure from the usual practice of Canadian courts, which normally only partially indemnifies the successful litigant. An award of double the amount of full indemnification is particularly infrequent. We asked the Court to strongly express its disapproval of the Plaintiffs’ abuse of the judicial process, and it has done so.In addition to litigation matters, Billington Barristers provides representation at arbitration and mediations. Richard N. Billington, Q.C. is available to serve as an arbitrator or mediator in commercial matters, including in oil & gas and corporate disputes.
June 2010 - Billington Barristers successfully concludes Shareholder Oppression Action and In Camera Investigation
Billington Barristers was retained by a director and shareholder of a private corporation who was concerned that a fellow director/shareholder was misappropriating funds. A deadlock between the only two directors and shareholders would have crippled the business. Billington Barristers developed a strategy to obtain a court ordered independent forensic accounting of the corporation’s affairs, and to do so on an in camera (not on the public record) basis. Simultaneously, we obtained an injunction to remove the suspect director from any authority within the corporation. Although the by-laws of the corporation did not make accommodation for the forced removal of a director/shareholder, the judicial process was utilized to obtain such a remedy. The results of the forensic examination enabled Billington Barristers to develop a mechanism to force the valuation and sale of the other shareholder’s interest. Once that was in place, the parties then participated in a Judicial Dispute Resolution (a court supervised mediation process) which resulted in an agreement to address the misappropriation issue and the sale of the shares of the defendant director and shareholder.
Although conducted under a filed court action, most of the steps in the litigation were kept off of the public record, saving the corporation and both directors from public scrutiny of the internal affairs of the business. Richard Billington, Q.C. stated:
Canadian law permits procedures to safeguard the interests of shareholders and other directly interested parties when there is a suspicion that the affairs of a corporation are being conducted in an oppressive, prejudicial or fraudulent manner. Because the concerns are important yet still unproven, the court will take care to ensure that the true circumstances are discovered, but on an in camera basis so that reputations and business sensitivities are protected until the facts are fully established. The results of this independent forensic process are recognized as prima facie proof of the facts, which allows the court to come to a conclusion about the affairs of the corporation much quicker than in normal commercial litigation.The action was conducted by Richard N. Billington, Q.C. and Monique Morin on behalf of the corporation and director who filed the complaint.
January 2010 – Richard N. Billington, Q.C. addresses The Canadian Bar Association
The Canadian Bar Association heard a presentation by Rick Billington at the January 2010 Alberta Law Conference in Calgary. Entitled “Nothing but the Hole Truth”, Rick Billington discussed his experience in pioneering equitable remedies to augment the statutory power afforded to municipal governments. As a result of the economic downturn of 2008/2009, Alberta municipalities were faced with numerous deep excavations for high-rise buildings that had been abandoned by developers. These holes, often located in the downtown core, posed significant safety and environmental hazard.
Working in concert with internal counsel at the City of Calgary, Rick Billington developed a litigation strategy to address the hazards created by abandoned excavations, yet without requiring the municipality to bear the expense of remedying the situation. His presentation focused on the wide range of judicial remedies he has employed to cause rapid action to be taken by the property owner. These have included injunctions, appointment of receivers, contempt of court proceedings and providing a super-priority for the costs to remedy the hazards so that taxpayers are not faced with massive, unanticipated financial liability.
December 2009 - Significant decision on remedies for breach of freehold oil and gas lease obtained by Billington Barristers
Justice D. Miller of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta has rendered judgment in a significant case clarifying the remedies that are available to the owners of freehold oil and gas rights when operators continue to produce from their land after the lease has expired.
Canpar Holdings Ltd. and Petrovera Resources v. Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd. considered the rights of the owner of freehold oil and gas rights after a lease to produce from their land had expired, yet the former lessee continued to produce from the land. The Plaintiffs, represented by Richard N. Billington, Q.C. and Monique Morin of Billington Barristers, sought and obtained a wide range of remedies in contract, tort and equity, including an injunction, a declaration that the lease had expired, and damages for miscalculation of royalty payments prior to the expiry of the lease. Most significantly, they also obtained judgment for damages for trespass and conversion for the Defendant’s continued operations from the land after the lease had expired and for an accounting for all sums produced from the land after the lease had expired.
In awarding an accounting, the Court directed that the Defendant must pay to the Plaintiffs the entire value of all substances produced from the land since the time the lease expired, deducting only the actual cost of production. In addition, the Court determined that the Defendant must also pay damages for its actual trespass on the land in the sum of the royalty that it previously was required to pay under the lease. The decision recognized that there had been not only a breach of contract, but that the Defendant had committed separate torts of trespass and conversion.
The decision was also precedent setting in upholding a “no deductions” clause that gave the freehold owner substantially better lease terms than were found in standard industry agreements.
Richard N. Billington, Q.C., lead counsel for the Plaintiffs, commented on the successful result: “This decision develops a line of recent authority in western Canada that those who produce hydrocarbons from freehold land after the lease has expired cannot merely contend that they felt the lease was still valid. The Court will hit them with an injunction, strip them of the entire amount of revenue that they hoped to produce from the land, and then award additional damages to deny them the amounts that they thought they would have to pay by way of royalties had their interpretation of the lease been upheld. This case has also provided the first judicial interpretation and support to the ‘no deductions’ clause contained in the Plaintiffs’ freehold mineral lease. Despite the contention of the Defendant that such a clause is contrary to industry practice, the terms of the lease prevail. ‘No deductions’ means just that, that no deductions shall be made for fuel gas necessary to carry out operations, nor for any other purpose not expressly allowed under the lease.”
Click here to review a copy of the Reasons for Judgment
October 2009 – Billington Barristers, City of Calgary cited in Canadian Lawyer Magazine
The October 2009 edition of Canadian Lawyer Magazine reviews the situation faced by The City of Calgary when it found itself having to deal with a series of very large, abandoned excavations. Author Daryl-Lynn Carlson writes:
Abandoned construction sites are creating safety concerns, threatening the integrity of infrastructure, and sending City of Calgary lawyers scouring through municipal law to find ways to protect the public. …Click here to view the full article.
“The impact on surrounding property owners, city infrastructure, and on public safety is a major concern for the city,” says Paul Frank, a lawyer with the City of Calgary’s Corporate Services Department and one of two lawyers who have been working full time on options to secure the sites.
“In the public interest, the city has had to take a number of steps. We’re the only ones in Canada with this issue.”
… Ultimately the city can take ownership of the site or sell it at auction, but the process can take up to three years. So Frank, lawyer Susan Trylinski, and outside counsel Richard Billington of Billington Barristers, have been working to find other means to compel compliance in a cost-effective manner.
September 2009 - Richard N. Billington, Q.C. quoted in Calgary Herald
Rick Billington was quoted in the September 17, 2009 Calgary Herald. He provided comment on when causes of action survive in the case of the death of an individual litigant who was also the shareholder of a corporate litigant.
Click here to view the article.
September 2009 - Richard N. Billington, Q.C. addresses national insolvency conference
Rick Billington addressed the Canadian Institute’s Western Canadian conference “Advanced Insolvency Law & Practice”, held in Vancouver, British Columbia, September 2009. He was the Moderator and Speaker at the panel “Understanding the Interplay of Real Property Laws with Insolvency Regimes”. He spoke on his court experience in addressing the obligations of landowners who have commenced major excavations, but who have abandoned them when they become insolvent.
Click here to view The Canadian Institute’s Web site.
February 2009 - Billington Barristers appoints Receiver over abandoned excavation site on behalf of The City of Calgary
Madam Justice A. Kent of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta has granted the application of Richard N. Billington, Q.C. to appoint a receiver over land where a major excavation was abandoned, creating a public safety hazard. The site in question, Manchester Station, in south Calgary near Chinook Centre, has been subject to an Order made by the City under the Municipal Government Act, but that Order has not been complied with. The City retained Billington Barristers to also seek an injunction against the defaulting owner who was also committing a trespass on neighbouring land.
Click here for to view the news article.
October 2008 – Billington Barristers obtains precedent-setting injunction in federal election
The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta has awarded a precedent setting injunction to clients of Billington Barristers. The injunction was granted to the Conservative Party of Canada and Devinder Shory Campaign on September 30, 2008. Madam Justice Sheila Martin granted the motion of Richard N. Billington, Q.C. and restrained independent candidate Roger Richard from holding himself out as though he was an official candidate of the Conservative Party of Canada when he is not. It is the first injunction ever granted to restrain the conduct of a candidate during an election campaign.
Click here to view a copy of the Judgment
Click here to view a copy of the Reasons for Judgement
Click here to view a copy of the Order
July 24, 2008 - Billington Barristers causes appointment of Receiver over Executive Marketing & Strategies Ltd.
Acting for individuals who invested in Executive Marketing & Strategies Ltd., Richard N. Billington, Q.C. has obtained the appointment of a Receiver over the affairs of Executive Marketing & Strategies Ltd.
The Receiver is charged with the duty of investigating the affairs of the respondent and in recommending a claims process dealing with the allocation of a fund of money which had been frozen pursuant to an Order of the Alberta Securities Commission.
Click here to view a copy of the Order
May 26-27, 2008 - Richard N. Billington, Q.C. to speak at National Fraud Conference
Rick Billington will address the topic of “Protecting your Corporate Identity” at the annual conference of the Association of Certified Forensic Investigators of Canada in Toronto.
The conference theme is “The Many Faces of Fraud”. In a nightmare scenario, a rogue employee steals confidential information that is critical to your company, including sensitive personal information about your customers. He then uses it to attempt to extort the company, and when the extortion fails, starts to spread the information to a variety of people, alleging that it supports proof of wrongdoing by your corporation. The police and regulators who oversee your industry prove to be incapable of responding to the threat, yet action is needed. This will be the tale of one company that successfully fought back … fought back against regulatory indifference, against groundless smears, and against adversaries who thought they could use the internet to hide their actions and put themselves above the law.
Rick Billington relates the now public circumstances behind a case involving the use of civil judicial remedies to seize computer data, to counter-attack against identity theft, to fine and jail wrongdoers for civil contempt, and to recover the critical information of a business that found itself alone in the fight to protect both its customers and its own critical information.
Click here for more information about the ACFI.
April 2007 - Dealing with Identity Theft
Rick Billington interviewed in Forum – Advocis’ magazine for Canadian Financial Advisors.
In the April 2007 issue, he discusses the increasing exposure of businesses and their directors to liability if they fail to take adequate steps to guard confidential documentation or if they fail to take rapid and effective action when it is determined that confidential or proprietary information has been misappropriated. Billington Barristers are particularly experienced in providing representation and advising on innovative forensic and judicial remedies to protect your interests in such situations. As Rick Billington states in the article:
It may not be sufficient to merely report the wrongdoing to the police. Rapid action through the pursuit of civil remedies, including specialized injunctions, may be needed to show that businesses and their directors have acted with proper diligence. In the absence of such diligence, businesses expose themselves to potential claims including the prospect of class action suits.
Click here to view the article.
November 2006 - Canadian Business – the Brian Mallard Story
The November 2006 issue of Canadian Business includes an investigative report of the dealings that financial advisor Brian Mallard has gone through, and of Rick Billington’s representation of him.
When faced with the secret misappropriation of confidential information from his office, Brian Mallard took action to protect his customer’s interests. He retained Rick Billington who obtained an Anton Piller Order to permit the search for and seizure of evidence from the home of the Defendant. When third parties tried to inject themselves into the litigation, which was being carried on in two provinces, Billington successfully sought injunctions and moved for a contempt finding, ultimately resulting in the jailing of one individual who flouted Court Orders.
Click here to view the article.
Click here to view the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta’s decision on contempt proceedings in this matter.
Click here to view the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench’s proceedings whereby Rick Billington obtained an injunction on behalf of Brian Mallard; click here to view the proceedings which that injunction was enforced by a contempt Order.
October 2006 - Billington addresses Association of Certified Forensic Investigators of Canada
Richard Billington spoke to a meeting of the ACFI in Calgary. His topic, “The Canadian Advantage, Better Courts, Better Business – Extraordinary Remedies in Civil Litigation” focused on the superior protections available in Canada to safeguard intellectual property rights, such as to gather evidence in copyright and patent infringement cases, to trace and seize the proceeds from the illegal exploitation of proprietary trade secrets. He stated:
Canadian Courts have been quick to adopt, apply and develop judicial remedies with the view to ensuring that legal processed develop within an increasingly sophisticated economy, and to meet the realities of a rapidly developing environment of computerized information. Whether providing tools to combat those who use the perceived anonymity of the internet as a platform to publish defamatory comments, or in responding to the conversion of most business information and currency into electronic data, the Canadian judges have employed a variety of judicial remedies, many of which are not available to their American counterparts. These are powerful weapons to combat fraud.
October 2006 - Richard N Billington, Q.C. Appointed Independent Supervising Solicitor by Federal Court
Mr. Justice Harrington of the Federal Court, sitting in Toronto, appointed Richard N. Billington, Q.C. to act on behalf of the Court in executing an Anton Piller Order.
The October 18, 2006 Order, granted to Schlumberger Canada Ltd. directed that Billington was to supervise the search for and seizure of evidence that was needed by the Plaintiff in respect to a breach of copyright case that it was bringing against a computer software design firm. The search resulted in the seizure of over nine terabytes of data, a massive amount by any standard. This represents the data that would be found on three hundred stacks of paper, each the size of Toronto’s CN Tower. As Independent Supervising Solicitor, Billington’s role has been to ensure that the Court’s directions were carried out, that the Defendant’s rights are protected, and that the analysis of data focuses only on relevant material, and that no privileged documentation is ever disclosed to the plaintiff. In this role, Billington worked closely with a major computer forensic group of one of the “Big Four” international accounting firms, directing their activities in carrying out the Court’s investigation and reporting to the Court. The case has subsequently resolved without necessity of going to trial.
October 2006 - Richard N. Billington Q.C. Speaks to Canadian Institute Seminar on Advanced Insolvency Law and Practice
Speaking as part of a panel with Mr. Juval Aviv, president of Interfor, an international asset recovery firm, and Mr. John Williams of KPMG, Rick Billington addressed the Canadian Institute on how proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors’ Arrangement Act (CCAA) and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) can enhance the ability to recover assets and information from fraudulent wrongdoers. He spoke to the issues of the procedural requirements of creditors seeking extraordinary relief against a bankrupt or insolvent, and of the role and availability of Anton Piller Orders, Mareva Injunctions and Norwich Pharmacal Orders. He also addressed the power of Interim Receivers, Receivers and Trustees in Bankruptcy to investigate and use extraordinary remedies to challenge fraud.
July 26, 2006 - Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta Appoints Richard N. Billington, Q.C. as Independent Supervising Solicitor
Mr. Justice Hawco granted an Anton Piller Order to The City of Calgary to permit a forensic investigative team to conduct a search for evidence of fraud by an employee. This Order permitted the search of the employee’s locker, car, home, and other location where it was believed that evidence would be found to show that he had defrauded his employer over a lengthy period of time. Richard Billington was appointed by the Court as its Independent Supervising Solicitor, responsible for overseeing the simultaneous execution of the search in multiple locations. His responsibilities also include directing the forensic investigators and providing advice to them, ensuring that the defendant was aware of his rights, and protecting any information that was not relevant to the investigation or that was subject to a claim of privilege. Billington prepared a report to the Court upon the conclusion of the search outlining the results, and continues to provide representation as directed by the Court. For more details on Rick Billington’s experience with Anton Piller files, see the Anton Piller page of this Web site.
December 31, 2005 - Richard N. Billington Appointed Queen’s Counsel
On the last day of Alberta’s centennial year, Justice Minister Ron Stevens announced the appointment of Queen’s Counsel, including Richard Billington of Calgary. Justice Minister Ron Stevens said:
This appointment recognizes that these lawyers have made outstanding contributions to the legal profession and the community at large. This longstanding tradition remains a prestigious symbol of respect in the legal community.A committee made up of representatives from both the judiciary and the legal profession screens the candidates and makes recommendations to the Minister and Executive Council for approval.
Click here to view the public announcement.