Dealing with government agencies is now an increasingly common experience for us all, engaging unique concepts and legal principles. Government administration and municipal agencies are now involved in every aspect of our day-to-day lives, and they act in accord with a myriad of rules and regulations that are frequently difficult to understand. The lawyers at Johns Southward have extensive experience in dealing with branches of the government, administrative boards, regulatory authorities and municipalities. We are familiar with the Administrative Tribunals Act, Local Government Act, Community Charter and the Judicial Review Procedure Act, all of which provide the core protections for the public when dealing these agencies. Our lawyers have appeared in front of numerous tribunals and at all levels of court in British Columbia with respect to administrative and municipal law matters.
Employment law encompasses individual employment relationships, whereas labour law covers unionized employees and collective agreements. The lawyers at Johns Southward are experienced in all areas of employment and labour litigation, including employment standards, labour contracts, pay equity, maternity and benefit plans, wrongful dismissal, discrimination in hiring, and other human rights claims. We represent and assist our clients in collective bargaining, labour negotiations, arbitration, and litigation. Whether you are an employer or an employee, our lawyers can advise you of your legal rights and obligations arising from your employment situation.
Building is fraught with risk and uncertainty and when there is a construction dispute, it is typically complex. One should ensure that the possibility of a misunderstanding between the builder and client is minimized. At Johns Southward, we advise clients about how to proceed in the face of disputes that arise before, during or after construction. Whether it’s a home renovation or commercial development, our lawyers can assist in resolving disputes and collecting unpaid invoices.
With the rise of the “modern family”, obligations and entitlement have become increasingly complex and contentious. The concept of the “Trust” has been expanded greatly by the Supreme Court of Canada over the past 20 years. British Columbia is one of the few provinces that creates a statutory requirement for will makers to provide for a spouse and child. This has led to an explosion in estate litigation. The litigation team at Johns Southward has extensive experience in dealing with difficult and disputed estates. We will work with you to ensure you receive your full entitlement.
Not all disputes end up in a courtroom. The legal process allows for alternative dispute resolution measures, including mediation and arbitration. Mediation allows parties to be brought together in a relaxed, non-confrontational environment together with an independent facilitator who will try to bring about a mutually satisfactory resolution. Arbitration is a more formal process whereby an appointed decision maker resolves your dispute in a legally binding decision. Whether it be mediation, arbitration, or a combination of the two, our litigation lawyers are familiar with these, and other forms of dispute resolution process, and can offer you guidance and assistance in resolving your problem or dispute.
Taxation is becoming an increasingly complex area for both individuals and businesses. Our litigators are experienced in negotiating with auditors and collections officers at the Canada Revenue Agency and provincial tax agencies, advising corporate clients on director liability issues, and filing objections to assessments issued by the CRA and appealing assessments to the Tax Court of Canada.
Sometimes your professional does not get it right. Engineers, accountants, doctors, dentists, realtors, and even lawyers, can make mistakes while acting in their professional capacity. Professionals are obliged to meet a high standard of care in providing you services, and they are accountable to you if they do not. Most professionals are required to carry some form of liability insurance. However, suing a professional is a difficult and complex task requiring a broad understanding of the role of the professional. Our lawyers have successfully pursued claims against a broad range of professionals and have the expertise and training to assist you in considering any claims you may have for professional liability.
You should be aware that many claims and legal obligations are governed by time frames within which you must act. Typically, a claim arising out of an improper or negligent act, must be commenced within two (2) years from the date that the act occurred. However, there are many exceptions to this rule, and in some instances the limitation may be compromised within a few weeks. These exceptions are too many and too varied to properly set out on this website. If you have a claim, you should be ensuring that it is pursued within the applicable limitation period. Our legal team is trained to recognize time frames within which you have to exercise your rights or discharge you responsibilities. We encourage you to make early contact with one of our lawyers to avoid compounding your problems.