Skip Navigation
Dalton W. McGrath, KC, FCIArb
Dalton W. McGrath, KC, FCIArb Partner | Calgary

About Dalton

Dalton is one of the most experienced and preeminent litigators in the Firm with an impressive record of success on difficult matters. Clients note that he is a "top litigation and arbitration lawyer who demonstrates incredible skill, innovation, strategy, client service and is laser focused on achieving great results."

For approximately 30 years, Dalton has acted as lead counsel in some of the leading and high-profile litigation and arbitration cases in Canada. He is retained where a case is of strategic importance, complex and where success is critical. He is a highly respected courtroom litigator of significant skill and a trusted advisor to some of the most successful companies and people in Canada. Dalton is also a well-known appellate lawyer. He deals with a wide range of commercial matters, including contract, fraud, energy, cybersecurity, class action defence, competition and a host of other commercial matters.

His vast experience in litigation and arbitration includes the successful defence of complex multibillion-dollar claims, including one recently nominated by Benchmark Canada as "Impact Case of the Year." He has a well-earned reputation of helping clients navigate challenging legal disputes to obtain great results. He has a deep understanding of the complexities involved, and strategies required, in commercial disputes. His commitment and work ethic are unwavering. Dalton is the go-to lawyer for those seeking a highly skilled, aggressive and highly experienced litigator.

Dalton was appointed as a King's Counsel (KC) in 2010, is also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) and a full member of the ADR Institute of Alberta. He also undertakes extensive pro bono work as described below and was awarded the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award in recognition of that work.

Select Experience

Representative cases include the following:

Representative Oil & Gas Disputes

  • Advising on complex joint venture, pipeline and infrastructure disputes including lead counsel for Suncor Energy Inc. in successfully defending an action seeking to set aside a C$1-billion transaction (see TotalEnergies EP Canada v. Suncor Energy Inc., 2023 ABKB 59). This precedent-setting case was awarded Impact Case of the Year at the Benchmark Canada Awards 2024.

Representative Competition Litigation

  • 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))

Representative Power Disputes

  • Lead counsel in successfully defending ENMAX in connection with the defence of a high-profile, C$2-billion 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)

Appellate Advocacy

  • Acting and advising for decades on appellate work including at the Alberta Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada (see Humphreys v. Hanne, SCC Docket No. 37626 (SCC) and Remington Development Corporation v. ENMAX Power Corp., 2022 ABCA 71))

Domestic and International Arbitration Disputes

  • Acting as successful counsel in a number of confidential domestic and international arbitrations with a broad, in-depth and highly experienced practice including being a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (London)

Emergent Injunction and Pre-Judgment Remedy Disputes

  • Acting as lead counsel and a leading author in the area of injunctions and special applications (see ENMAX PPA Management Inc. v. Balancing Pool, 2017 ABQB 605 and Catalyst Canada v. Catalyst Changers Inc., 2013 ABQB 73).

Representative Intellectual Property Disputes

  • Representing domestic and international clients, such as Saudi Arabian Oil Company, in successfully prosecuting and defending intellectual property disputes, including as lead counsel in a multibillion-dollar and leading oil and gas patent dispute in Canada that was awarded Benchmark Canada's "Impact Case of the Year" (see Packers Plus Energy Services Inc. v. Essential Energy Services Inc., 2017 FC 1111)

Derivative and Financial Disputes

  • Litigating, arbitrating and advising the banking and oil and gas industries on physically and financially settled derivative swap transactions, including being lead counsel in the successful collection of over C$3-billion of claims arising from the bankruptcy of Enron Corp. on behalf of Enron Canada Corp.

Awards & Recognition

Dalton is recognized as a leading lawyer including by the following rating agencies:

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys (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…")

  • Thomson Reuters Stand-out Lawyers – Independently Rated Lawyers (As nominated by senior in-house counsel; formerly, Acritas Stars 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.")

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business (Litigation: General Commercial)

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada (Energy Law)

Dalton led the Blakes Litigation & Dispute Resolution team that won Impact Case of the Year for TotalEnergies EP Canada Ltd. v. Suncor Energy Inc. et al. in the 2024 Benchmark Canada Awards for their work on this matter. Blakes successfully defended Suncor in this case.

Dalton was appointed King's Counsel in 2010 and as a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in 2013.

Professional Activities

Dalton is a contributing author of Halsbury's Laws of Canada, Barristers & Solicitors in Practice and Canadian Legal Practice: A Guide for the 21st Century (both published by LexisNexis). He is also a leading expert and author in the field of civil procedure and evidence.

Dalton is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a full member of the ADR Institute of Alberta. He teaches and is an evaluator at the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education. He also served on the Alberta Practice Advisory Committee of The Law Society of Alberta in formulating the Alberta Rules of Court and is a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Energy Law.

Dalton volunteers extensively for The Law Society of Alberta, the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary and Student Legal Assistance. He was awarded the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award in recognition of his humanitarian work.

Dalton has also volunteered, served as a director and is the chair of the advisory board of Calgary Legal Guidance, Calgary's largest provider of pro bono legal advice.


Appointed Fellow, The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators – 2013
CIArb Diploma in International Commercial Arbitration – 2012
Advanced Trial Advocacy Course, Harvard Law School – 2002
Intensive Trial Advocacy Course, Osgoode Hall Law School – 1993
Admitted to the Alberta Bar – 1991
JD, University of Calgary – 1990
BA (Hon., Economics), University of Calgary – 1987

More insights

Save Profile

Select sections to customize your PDF