December 2013 - Billington Barristers completes appointment by Court in complex commercial matter.
Billington Barristers has completed its engagement as Independent Supervising Solicitor (ISS) in the case Catalyst Systems v. Catalyst Canada Inc. As Independent Supervising Solicitor, Richard Billington, Q.C. 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, Q.C. 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 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, Q.C. 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.