James Sullivan, Q.C.
Partner | Vancouver
Vancouver: 604-631-3358

Jim is senior trial and appellate counsel, with experience in a wide range of complex litigation matters.  He has appeared as counsel in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada.  In 2013 Benchmark named Jim Canada’s Class Action Litigator of the year.  In 2017 the Attorney General of British Columbia appointed Jim as Queen’s Counsel.  In 2018 Who’s Who Legal referred to Jim as “the dean of the British Columbia product liability and class action bars.”

Jim has represented clients in numerous major corporate commercial, class action, energy, contaminated site, regulatory offence, constitutional and product liability cases.  He also advises clients on national and international compliance and foreign and domestic anticorruption.


Recent experience includes:

  • Acting for the Province of British Columbia in a purported class action alleging that the Province's regulation of fish farms had injured the aboriginal fishery; action was dismissed by the British Columbia Court of Appeal (2011), and leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was dismissed (November 2012)

  • Counsel to Microsoft Corporation in a class action alleging breaches of the Competition Act and various other economic claims regarding the sale of software products throughout Canada
  • Acting as counsel to Lafarge Canada Inc. in a matter finally decided in the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the constitutional question of which level of government controlled the development of a concrete facility on the Vancouver waterfront; Supreme Court of Canada upheld Lafarge Canada Inc.'s position and enabled the facility to be developed
  • Acting as counsel to Merck & Co., Inc. and Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. in a purported class action in British Columbia relating to Propecia and Proscar
  • Conducting international anticorruption investigations and due diligence for multinational clients in connection with allegations of improper payments to government officials
  • Acting as counsel to Hunt Oil in an action concerning an oil and gas tenure in northeastern British Columbia - Hunt Oil acquired the tenure only to find out that the Province of British Columbia had not disclosed that the tenure was in an area that was considered historically and spiritually significant by a local aboriginal group; the matter proceeded through an extensive litigation process and settled, successfully for Hunt Oil on the eve of trial in 2012
  • Acting as counsel to Coca Cola Ltd. in the co-ordination of its Canadian litigation concerning Vitaminwater® class actions; these class actions have to be co-ordinated not only between various jurisdictions in Canada but also with other international jurisdictions
  • Acting as counsel to Syscon Justice Systems Canada Ltd., successfully defending a 10-week trial for a commission sought in the amount of C$17-million
  • Acting as arbitrator for government and business

Jim is recognized nationally and internationally as leading litigation counsel in the following publications:

  • Who's Who Legal: Canada 2017 (Life Sciences, Product Liability)
  • The Best Lawyers in Canada (Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Class Action Litigation, Product Liability Law, Environmental Law and Appellate Practice)
  • Who's Who Legal: Canada (Product Liability Defence - "Highly Recommended" for his advice to corporate clients regarding the prevention of product liability claims and his "fabulous abilities" at defending leading manufacturers in the courts). In 2016 recognized as one of Canada's top five product liability defence lawyers, the only lawyer so recognized in British Columbia)
  • The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-border Litigation Lawyers in Canada (Class Actions - the only British Columbia lawyer so recognized)
  • Lexpert's Special Edition on Litigation in Report on Business Magazine, December 2014 (recognized as one of Canada's highest-ranked business-focused litigation lawyers)
  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys (Canada's Class Action Litigator of the Year 2013)
  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys (a litigation star in British Columbia and a litigation star in Class Actions, Competition and Environmental Law)
  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business (Dispute Resolution, describing Jim as "an excellent advocate - very customer focused and good at figuring out what clients need")
  • Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Litigation Lawyers
  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (Class Actions)
  • Who's Who Legal: Product Liability Defence (as "one of the leading product liability experts in British Columbia")
  • The Legal 500 Canada (Recommended for Dispute Resolution)
  • Appointed Queen’s Counsel
Show Past:
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Blakes Bulletin on Class Actions, December 16, 2015.
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Speaker: Strategies for Conducting Complex Class Action Trials
Northwind Professional Institute's 2018 Class Actions Invitational Forum, Cambridge, Ontario, June 13, 2018.
Speaker: Current Trends in Director and Officer Indemnification Agreements
Managing Enterprise Risk: Spotlight on D&O Liability, Vancouver, British Columbia, February 22, 2018.
Speaker: Cy-Pres Love – Recent Issues in Cy-Pres Distributions
Class Action Subsection, Canadian Bar Association, Vancouver, British Columbia, October 3, 2017.
Speaker: How to Minimize Class Action Risk
Client Seminar, Vancity Savings Credit Union, Vancouver, British Columbia, October 2, 2017.
Instructor: McEachern Trial Advocacy Course
University of British Columbia Allard School of Law, Vancouver, British Columbia, September 14 and 19, 2017.
Speaker: Taming the Beast: Bringing Class Actions to Trial
Canadian Regional Meeting, International Association of Defense Counsel, Toronto, Ontario, June 6, 2017.
Lecturer: Anatomy of a Class Action: The Defence Perspective
Allard Hall School of Law, University of British Columbia, April 4, 2017.
Lecturer: Access to Justice and Class Actions
Allard Hall School of Law, University of British Columbia, March 30, 2017.
Speaker: Post-Certification Strategies
Ahead of the Class: Important Updates and Developments in Class Actions, Blakes Business Class Seminar, Toronto, Ontario, February 2, 2017.
Speaker: Cross-Border Litigation
Association of Corporate Counsel, Washington State Chapter, Seattle, Washington, September 20, 2016.
Speaker: Defining the Class
13th National Symposium on Class Actions, Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, Ontario, April 21, 2016.
Lecturer: The Anatomy of a Class Action Trial
University of British Columbia Law School, Vancouver, British Columbia, April 5, 2016.
Speaker: Class Definition - The New Battleground for Certification
Western Canada Class Actions Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, February 26, 2016.
Speaker: Important Updates and Developments in Class Action Practice
Blakes Business Class Seminar, Toronto, Ontario, January 27, 2016.
Speaker: Mastering Civil Evidence 2016
The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, February 1, 2016.
Speaker: Management of Cross-Border Class Action Settlements
Litigation Management in a New York Minute Conference, The Network of Trial Lawyers, New York, New York, August 7, 2015.
Panellist: Current Issues in White Collar Crime
Litigation Management in a New York Minute Conference, The Network of Trial Lawyers, New York, New York, August 7, 2015.
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Mentioned: Lexpert-ranked Lawyers
Lexpert Magazine, December 1, 2017.
Interviewed: Former LNG advocate Gordon Wilson seeks $5M in defamation lawsuit
Article by Estefania Duran, Matt Lee, Liza Yuzda and Emily Lazatin, Global News/CKNW, August 17, 2017.
Interviewed: Class Action Update
Lexpert Online Magazine, June 21, 2016.
Mentioned: Canadian Judge Rules Microsoft Files to be Privileged
Global Competition Review, February 8, 2016.
Interviewed: Class Action
Lexpert Online Magazine, December 11, 2015.
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