Dalton W. McGrath, Q.C., FCIArb.
Partner | Calgary
Calgary: 403-260-9654

Dalton has extensive experience and substantial success in handling complex, high-profile corporate/commercial litigation and domestic/international arbitration. He has successfully dealt with a wide range of matters including contract, energy, oil and gas, environmental, directors and officers, class action defence and competition disputes. He successfully and routinely handles complex litigation and arbitrations for some of the world's largest companies including as successful lead counsel in the Benchmark 2017 “Impact Case of the Year". His reputation is that of a practical, highly skilled, innovative, strategic and result-driven lawyer whom is intensely focused on solving his client's most critical problems. He also has extensive experience and success in all aspects of civil fraud cases and in internal investigations.

Dalton frequently appears as lead counsel in all levels of courts and has extensive domestic and international arbitration experience. He is a Queen's Counsel (Q.C.) and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb). He also undertakes extensive pro bono work as described below.


Representative cases include the following:

  • Lead counsel in successfully defending a power company in connection with the defence of a high-profile, C$600-million action by the Attorney General of Alberta which sought to set aside a provision in an instrument under which it was terminated (see: Alberta (Attorney General) v. Alberta Power (2000) Ltd. et al., 2017 ABQB 195 and Alberta (Attorney General) v Alberta Power (2000) Ltd, 2018 ABQB 100)

  • Representing, as lead counsel, ExxonMobil in successfully setting aside a trial decision finding liability under the Competition Act which included setting aside the highest damages at large and then highest punitive damage award in Canadian law, including successfully defending a different multinational trading corporation in a section 45 Competition Act investigation (see: 321665 Alberta Ltd. v. Husky Oil Operations Ltd., 2013 ABCA 221 (CanLII), leave to SCC denied 2014 CanLII 1208 (SCC))

  • Representing domestic and international clients, such as Saudi Arabian Oil Company, in successfully prosecuting and defending intellectual property disputes including as lead counsel in one of the leading oil and gas patent disputes in Canada which was awarded “Impact Case of the Year” for 2017 by Benchmark (see for example: Packers Plus Energy Services Inc. v. Essential Energy Services Ltd., 2017 FC 1111 and Phoenix Technology Services LP v. Braisher, 2007 ABQB 261)

  • Litigating several high-profile injunction applications including successfully obtaining a high-profile mandatory injunction against a statutory corporation (see for example: ENMAX Energy Corporation v. Balancing Pool, 2017 ABQB 718 and Catalyst Canada Services LP v. Catalyst Changers Inc., 2013 ABQB 73)

  • Advising Fortune 500 and other prominent companies on energy disputes, including the successful representation of major oil producers in disputes arising from their oilsands production and transportation operations including an approximate C$2.3-billion recent settlement concerning a dispute under various bitumen and condensate agreements

  • Acting for energy companies in Power Purchase Arrangement disputes for over a decade (see for example ENMAX PPA Management Inc. v. Balancing Pool, 2017 ABQB 605 and ENMAX Energy Corporation v. TransAlta Generation Partnership, 2015 ABQB 185) including matters relating to all aspects of PPAs

  • Litigating, arbitrating and advising the banking and oil and gas industries on physically and financially settled derivative swap transactions, including the successful collection of over C$1.3-billion claims arising from the bankruptcy of Enron Corp.

  • Summarily dismissing a C$30-million putative class action against ENMAX Energy Corporation including striking out one of the largest reported representative actions in Alberta for another client (see for example: Calgary Herald: Judge Dismisses $30 M Lawsuit Against ENMAX)

  • Successfully defending a multi-national oil company in dismissing twenty-one civil actions and a proposed class action involving Alberta's largest site contamination matter in Lynnview Ridge in Calgary

  • Acting for Encana in successfully defending a C$315-million land claim relating to the Jean Marie natural gas play in Northeast British Columbia

  • Acting as successful counsel in a number of precedent-setting arbitrations


Dalton is recognized as a leading lawyer in the following rating agencies.

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys - 2017 Edition (Rates Dalton as a “Litigation Star”; testimony from a major client of the firm includes: “We retained Dalton on a very high stakes, high-profile matter. After working with him closely over an extended period, I can definitely say that there is nobody else I would rather retain for material disputes or appeals. Dalton is an exceptional and “kick-ass” litigator; a brilliant and creative strategist with top-notch, legal, procedural and advocacy skills and expertise; very driven to win. He has a rare combination of being aggressive, ethical and always provides direct and honest advice, not sugar-coated “what-you-want-to-hear” information. I completely trust his judgment and instincts…”)

  • Acritas Stars 2016: Independently Rated Lawyers (Nominated as a stand-out lawyer by senior in-house counsel and described by clients as follows: “Strategically innovative, aggressive and super practical,” “Practical advice, very knowledgeable and aggressive” and “He’s the best courtroom lawyer in Calgary. He has the best courtroom skills, he has an insane work ethic, he’s very practical, very driven to results, and very smart.”)

Dalton was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2010 and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in 2013.

Show Past:
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Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, July 9, 2018.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, March 13, 2018.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, February 7, 2018.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, January 17, 2018.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, January 5, 2018.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, December 12, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, November 23, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, October 16, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation and Dispute Resolution, June 9, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, April 27, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, March 28, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, December 14, 2016.
Co-contributor: Chapter 8 - Accepting Instructions
Canadian Legal Practice - A Guide for the 21st Century, LexisNexis Canada Inc., Loose-Leaf Revision 46, 2016 (publication originally published in 2009).
Blakes Bulletin on Corporate & Commercial and Litigation & Dispute Resolution, August 9, 2016.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution and Oil & Gas, June 7, 2016.
Blakes Bulletin on Commercial Real Estate and Litigation & Dispute Resolution, May 12, 2016.
Blakes Bulletin on Corporate & Commercial, Energy, Environmental & Aboriginal, Oil & Gas, Power, Renewable Energy, April 21, 2016.
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Quoted: U.S. Courts Affirm Narrow Privilege
(Lexpert (Online)) - Julius Melnitzer - October 13, 2016 - Dalton McGrath, Q.C. FCIArb quoted.
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