Vancouver’s Hunter Litigation Chambers makes no bones about its agenda; this litigation-specific outfit has won commendations from peers and clients for its focus on disputes and its success with attending to them. The firm’s culture and approach has garnered as much praise as its work product; one client cheers the firm’s “excellent and timely legal advice” while noting that the firm is “very responsive to emerging issues, willing to take on the ‘strange and unusual’ and creative [in its] problem-solving.” Another client opines, “I’m glad to see that they work with and are training female juniors.” Peers observe that “Hunter does a lot of unusual cases, such as ongoing work related to indigenous rights and title, forestry law compliance issues and government policy issues.”
Senior partner Bill Smart is revered by all members of the Vancouver legal community. “Bill displayed his usual finesse in cross examining people in a money-laundering matter,” confirms one peer. Another insists, “Bill is the titular head of the firm. He commands the confidence of clients and is also good with grooming young lawyers.” Among these young lawyers referenced, firm namesake Claire Hunter is a frequent mention. “Claire is very responsive and provides timely legal advice,” states a client. “She is a very clear communicator and is well respected by the courts. I always know I am in good hands [with her representation.]” Hunter successfully resisted a shareholder’s appeal from dismissal of their application for leave to commence a derivative action against the directors of client Eastern Platinum Limited in connection with the company’s having entered into an agreement relating to the recovery and sale of chrome off-take. Hunter also exemplifies the firm’s willingness to take on more cutting-edge issues outside of commercial litigation. She made a successful application for judicial review challenging a decision made on behalf of the Minister of Health refusing to grant a security clearance to the applicant under the Cannabis Regulations, and she led a significant appeal in which a father appealed from orders permitting his 14-year-old transgender child to consent as a mature minor to gender-affirming hormone therapy. There were also orders requiring the father to recognize the child’s male gender identity and refer to him as a boy. Mark Oulton successfully resisted an application brought seeking leave to appeal from an arbitral award relating to the proper interpretation of a replaceable road construction agreement. Oulton is commended by a client for his “communication, responsiveness, customer focus and honest assessment of strength of position.” Ryan Dalziel, a younger partner with a considerable reputation, joined the firm in early 2020. “That was a good get,” insists one peer, summing up the general consensus. Dalziel provided counsel for a respondent in an appeal from a finding of vicarious liability for a hit-and-run by an unidentified driver. The appeal tested the limits of the inferences that could be drawn by the trial judge from purely circumstantial evidence about the presence of the car at a nightclub, and whether the car owner granted anyone at the club permission to drive the vehicle. The appeal was dismissed.