Faculty of Law

Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

​​Moot Advisory Council Members 2014-15

Peter Griffin, Law'77 (Chair)

Peter Griffin is Managing Partner and one of the five founding partners at Lenczner Slaght. According to Chambers Global Client Guide, he is “One of the top lawyers in Toronto, if not the top – he's a tough, aggressive but fair and smart commercial litigator who you can rely on, as he has fantastic judgment."

Peter is recognized by his peers as one of the top litigators in Canada, particularly in the areas of corporate commercial litigation, class actions, securities matters, insolvency, and professional and director/officer liability. He has appeared before all levels of court in Ontario and the common-law provinces, and before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Peter has been recognized by several publications including the American College of Trial Lawyers 2012, Who’s Who Legal 2012, The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, Practical Law Company, Chambers Global, Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, Best Lawyers, and Benchmark Canada.

Peter is the President of The Advocates’ Society (2012-2013) and was Secretary, Executive Committee for The Advocates’ Society (2008-09). He is a Fellow; Vice Chair, Ontario Committee, American College of Trial Lawyers Commercial List Users’ Committee.

Peter has been engaged with the Queen’s Faculty of Law since 2001 when he served on the Law ’77 reunion committee.

Kirk Baert, Law'88

Kirk is a partner at Koskie Minsky LLP and is head of the firm's class action group. His practice focuses on class proceedings. He has been recognized by Lexpert as a leading Canadian practitioner in the field of class action litigation. Mr. Baert has appeared in courts across the country, including the Ontario Court of Appeal, Quebec Court of Appeal, Newfoundland Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, on matters dealing with all aspects of class action litigation.

Mr. Baert was counsel for the plaintiff in Cloud v. Canada, the first Indian residential schools class action certified in Canada. A $4 billion pan-Canadian settlement was reached in the case in 2007. Kirk was designated as lead counsel in Canada to handle the 9 settlement approval hearings across the country. The settlement was ultimately approved by all 9 provincial and territorial courts involved. The settlement is proceeding and over 90,000 class members have made claims.

Kirk is counsel for the plaintiffs in Anderson v. Canada, in which it is alleged that Canada failed to comply with its constitutional and fiduciary duties to Metis and Inuit people in Newfoundland and Labrador arising from the operation of 5 residential schools in that province after 1949.

Kirk was also counsel for the plaintiff in Pearson v. Inco Ltd., the first common law environmental class action to be certified in Canada.

Mr. Baert was counsel for the plaintiff in Markson v. MBNA Canada Bank, which was certified by the Ontario Court of Appeal. The court’s decision expanded the situations where an aggregate assessment of damages may be used in a class action. The action settled in 2012 with class members receiving refunds of $8 million.

Kirk was Canadian co-counsel for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Pension Trust Fund, the lead plaintiff in Re Nortel Networks Corp Securities Litigation. A worldwide settlement was reached in the case in late 2006 totalling over $2.4 billion. Mr. Baert is co-counsel (with Siskinds LLP) in Labourers Pension Fund v. Sino-Forest Corporation, Ernest & Young LLP et al. The firm won a contested carriage motion in the case. In 2012, Kirk helped successfully negotiate a $117 million settlement with Ernst & Young LLP, one of the largest auditor settlements in class action history.

Kirk is also counsel for the plaintiffs in Trustees of the Musicians' Pension Fund of Canada v. Kinross Gold Corporation et al. and in Trustees of the Millwright Regional Council of Ontario Pension Trust Fund v. Celestica Inc. et al., both of which seek damages of over $1 billion for violations of various securities laws.

Kirk is counsel for the plaintiffs in Dolmage v. Ontario, Clarke v. Ontario and Bechard v. Ontario. Each of these cases seeks to hold the provincial government liable for abuses at the government-run institutions for the cognitively and developmentally challenged. These cases were all settled for more than $70 million in 2013. He is also counsel for the plaintiff in Seed v. Ontario, a case which alleges that students at a government run school for the blind were abused.

Mr. Baert is counsel for the plaintiffs in Taylor v. Canada, which broke new ground in a 2012 Court of Appeal decision on the issue of when federal government regulators can be liable for injuries sustained by users of a defective product that the government failed to prevent from coming on the market.

For ten years, Kirk taught a course in class actions with Professor Garry Watson at Osgoode Hall Law School. He has been on the Planning Committee for the Osgoode Hall Law School National Symposium on Class Actions held annually since 2001. Kirk is also a regular speaker and author of papers for The Canadian Institute, CBA, OBA, LSUC and the Advocates’ Society on class actions, complex litigation and other matters.

Mr. Baert was an Instructor in the Ontario Bar Admission Course in both the Advocacy and Civil Procedure sections from 1995 to 2001. Kirk has also been a guest Instructor in the Osgoode Hall Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshop.

Kirk is a former editor of Carswell's Practice Cases. He is currently a contributing editor of Class Action, a quarterly publication issued by Federated Press. Kirk is also a member of the CBA National Task Force on Class Actions. Kirk is currently Chair of the OBA Section on Class Actions. He sits on the Board of Directors for Pro Bono Law Ontario. His column, "Class Acts", appears in The Canadian Lawyers once a month.

Kirk is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. The Litigation Counsel of America is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. He has also been recognized by Lexpert, Best Lawyers in Canada, Benchmark Canada, Lexpert/American Lawyer Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada as a leading lawyer in class action litigation.

Erin Dann, Law'07

Erin DannErin Dann earned a bachelor of journalism from Carleton University in 2002 and received her LL.B. from Queen’s University in 2007. She graduated first in her class from both Carleton and Queen’s. Erin clerked for the Honourable Justice Morris Fish at the Supreme Court of Canada where she had the opportunity to work on a number of important criminal law cases. She was called to the bar in 2008 and completed a Canadian Bar Association/Canadian International Development Agency internship in Lao PDR assisting in the implementation of the UN’s Enhancing Access to Justice Project. On her return to Canada, Erin worked at the Crown Law Office Criminal before joining the criminal defence bar in 2010. She practices at both the trial and appellate levels. Erin is the regional session co-ordinator for the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute, a member of the Queen’s Law Moot Advisory Council and former co-chair of the Toronto Public Library Foundation’s New Collection Committee. She is also a regular speaker at continuing legal education seminars and is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School.





Christopher Essert, Assistant Professor

Christopher Essert is a assistant professor at the Queen's University Faculty of Law, where he teaches and writes about legal philosophy and the law of property. Before he did those things, he clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada and articled in Toronto at Paliare Roland LLP. He has published articles in leading law journals including Legal Theory, Law and Philosophy, and the University of Toronto Law Journal. He has a JSD and an LLM from Yale Law School, a JD from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and a BA from McGill University.







Jim Grout, Law'81

Jim is a founding partner of TGF and is internationally-recognized for his expertise in the fields of insolvency, restructuring and related litigation. Jim has extensive experience in the automotive, insurance, mining, securities firms and hedge fund sectors. He was listed as one of the leading 500 lawyers in Canada in the 2012 Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide. Jim is recognized as a leading restructuring and insolvency practitioner in Canada in Chambers Global 2012 and is endorsed by the PLC Cross-border Handbook 2012/13 in the areas of restructuring and insolvency. Jim is listed as Repeatedly Recommended in the area of insolvency and financial restructuring and as Most Frequently Recommended in corporate commercial litigation in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2012.


◾Appeared as counsel in proceedings under the CCAA, involving A.G. Simpson, Alloy Wheels Industrial, Algoma Steel, Anvil Range Mining, Bramalea, the Canadian Red Cross, Central Capital, Elks, Royal Oak Mines, Stelco Inc. and United Keno Hill Mines
◾Counsel for the receiver of the Portus Group. As a result of Portus' collapse, over 26,000 investors were owed in excess of $790 million. The Receiver recovered over 95 cents on every dollar of their claims
◾Has represented the vast majority of the receivers of securities firms in Ontario
◾Counsel to the receiver and bankruptcy trustee of an insolvent pulp and paper mill, in a case involving the divestiture provisions of the BIA
◾Counsel to the Receiver of Blockbuster Canada - an orderly liquidation of approximately 440 stores with significant cross border issues
◾Counsel for the Ontario Securities Commission in the insolvency proceedings of Sino-Forest Corporation
◾Regularly advises the Ontario Securities Commission on insolvency matters and has represented the Securities and Exchange Commission in cross-border proceedings

Jim was the founding chairman and is currently one of the three co-chairs of the Gold Medal Plates fundraiser for Canada's Olympic athletes. The event raises funds for the Own the Podium program, which was instrumental in Team Canada's success at the Vancouver and London Olympic Games. Jim and the TGF relay team featuring Deborah Palter and Rachelle Moncur are proud first place winners of the 2006 Around the Bay Corporate Mixed Relay 30km race.

Jim is a member of the Ontario Bar Association, Insolvency Section, INSOL International and the Insolvency Institute of Canada.

Owen Rees, M.S.M, Law'02

Owen is counsel at Conway Baxter Wilson LLP, where he has a civil and regulatory litigation practice before all levels of courts in Ontario, the federal courts, the Supreme Court of Canada, and administrative tribunals. He represents companies, individuals, and public authorities. 

Owen served three years (2012-15) as the Executive Legal Officer to the Chief Justice of Canada, the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, P.C., acting as the principal advisor to the Chief Justice and assisting her with the administration of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Canadian Judicial Council, and the National Judicial Institute.

Earlier in his career, Owen served as a law clerk to Mr. Justice LeBel of the Supreme Court of Canada and was a college lecturer in the University of Oxford. He has been an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and at Queen’s University’s Faculty of Law, where he taught administrative law.

In addition to his litigation practice, Owen is active in the community and the profession. In 2012, the Canadian Public Health Association awarded him the National Public Health Hero Award for making a positive difference for the public’s health at the national level. Owen has been the Secretary to the Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute (2012-15). He has served on Legal Aid Ontario’s Group Applications and Test Cases Committee (2010-12). He co-founded and was an Executive Director of the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute (2007-11), which assists counsel appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada. In recognition of this, Owen was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by the Governor General of Canada.

Owen attended McGill University (BA) and Queen’s University (LLB), and holds a master’s degree in law from the University of Oxford (BCL).

The Honourable Katherine van Rensburg, Law'81 (Honorary Chair)

Justice Katherine van Rensburg was appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in October 2013. Prior to her appointment to this court she had served on the Superior Court of Justice in the Central West Region since November 2006. As a trial judge, Justice van Rensburg was chambered in Brampton, and presided over criminal, family and civil law matters. She also served on the Divisional Court.

Justice van Rensburg was an associate lawyer and then a partner at the Toronto law firm Smith Lyons LLP, and she became a partner in Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP with the merger of the two firms in 2001. She practised civil litigation and environmental law, having been certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in each.

Justice van Rensburg is a graduate of the University of Toronto (B.A.), Queen's University (LL.B.) and Cambridge University (LL.M.). She spent her articling year as law clerk for the Honourable Justice Wm. McIntyre at the Supreme Court of Canada.




The Honourable Darla Wilson, Law'84

Madam Justice Darla Wilson received a Bachelor of Arts from Queen’s University in 1981, and a Bachelor of Laws from Queen’s University in 1984. She was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1986. Madam Justice Wilson, was previously a partner with Lawson McGrenere LLP where she practiced exclusively in the area of civil litigation. She carried on her practice throughout Ontario defending hospitals and other health care facilities on negligence claims, general insurance defence work including occupier’s liability, motor vehicle and municipal negligence claims as well as representing plaintiffs in personal injury claims. Madam Justice Wilson was an instructor in Trial Advocacy at the University of Toronto Law School, as well as a Director of Advocates’ Society and a member of the Board of Directors of the Medico-Legal Society. In December 2007, she was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. Madam Justice Wilson is an avid long distance runner, and completed the Boston Marathon in 2010.