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John Pirie leads Baker McKenzie's Canadian litigation and government enforcement group and is a member of the North American group's Steering Committee. A Chambers ranked trial lawyer, he handles complex business disputes, investigations and white-collar matters, particularly those with multi-jurisdictional aspects. John's focus includes a significant fraud and financial recovery component, having pursued and defended a range of leading cases in the area. He has deep experience with emergency relief measures, including global asset freeze orders and remedies available in bankruptcy and receivership. John has acted for governments, banks, investors, multinational corporations, officers and directors, a stock exchange, a securities regulator, members of the judiciary and an array of professionals. Clients interviewed by Chambers Global say: "John Pirie has an excellent command of the law and clients' needs and expectations" and "he is an experienced courtroom advocate who is particularly well regarded for his civil fraud expertise."

The Court of Québec recently considered whether the complexity of a white collar case justifies a departure from the presumptive 18-month limit for the prosecution of criminal offences after charges are laid. The Court’s decision affirms that white collar matters that are often thought of as “complex” are not necessarily exempt from the 18-month ceiling.
Continue Reading Complex White Collar Prosecutions and Dismissal for Delay

In an unreported judgment Pallotta v. Cengarle, Court file CV-16-56337 released on February 27, 2020, Faieta J. found real estate lawyer Licio Cengarle vicariously liable for his clerk’s mortgage fraud scheme as well as for breach of trust. This case is a cautionary tale for professionals and employers about the need for internal controls.
Continue Reading Ignorance of Fraud is No Defence: Employer Vicariously Liable for Rogue Employee

David Holden was recently convicted of defrauding Canadian investors in Seaquest Corporation and Seaquest Capital Corporation of more than $54-million in a complex ponzi-scheme. In related civil proceedings our team acted to obtain significant recoveries for some of Holden’s victims. Sadly, this was not the first time that Holden had defrauded investors.
Continue Reading Ponzi Mastermind Sentenced to 12 Years – $54 Million Payment Ordered

In a widely publicized move, on December 18, 2019, SNC-Lavalin Construction Inc. pleaded guilty to fraud over five thousand dollars. The guilty plea was the result of protracted settlement discussions between SNC-Lavalin and the Crown.

As part of SNC-Lavalin’s plea deal, all charges against SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. and its international marketing arm, SNC-Lavalin International Inc. were withdrawn. SNC-Lavalin Construction will pay a fine of $280 million, payable in instalments over the next five years. The deal also includes a recently released probation order that requires SNC-Lavalin Construction to cause SNC-Lavalin Group to strengthen its compliance program, record keeping, and internal control standards.
Continue Reading SNC-Lavalin Probation Order Issued in Connection with Guilty Plea


In Godfrey v Pioneer, 2019 SCC 42 (“Godfrey“), the Supreme Court of Canada has lowered the bar for certifying price-fixing class actions brought under the federal Competition Act, while also allowing new categories of claimants to participate as class members.


Continue Reading Supreme Court of Canada Lowers Bar to Certifying Price-Fixing Class Actions

On May 14, 2019, in Christine DeJong Medicine Professional Corp. v. DBDC Spadina Ltd., 2019 SCC 30 the Supreme Court of Canada granted Christine DeJong Medicine Professional Corporation’s appeal and unanimously adopted Justice van Rensburg’s dissenting reasons as their own. In reversing the earlier decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court has provided guidance on when a party will be found to have participated in a breach of trust.
Continue Reading Refrain is the Name of the Game: Supreme Court rules on Breach of Trust

Lawyers must act with care and uphold their professional obligations when making referrals. The Supreme Court of Canada recently addressed the professional liability of a lawyer who advised his client to purchase specific offshore investments from an advisor where that advisor turned out to be a fraudster. In Salomon v Matte‑Thompson, 2019 SCC 14, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal holding the lawyer liable for his client’s investment losses.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Confirms that Lawyer is Liable for Advising Clients to Invest in Fraudulent Scheme

On November 15, 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada granted Christine DeJong Medicine Professional Corporation’s (“DeJong”) application for leave to appeal from the decision in DBDC Spadina Ltd. v. Walton, 2018 ONCA 60. By granting leave, Canada’s highest court will weigh in on the liability of “victims” of fraud as against one another.
Continue Reading Supreme Court to Rule on Conflicting Rights of Investors in Fraudulent Schemes

Piercing the corporate veil remains a difficult feat in Ontario. Recently, in Cornerstone Properties v Southside Construction, Justice Hockin of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice refused to pierce the corporate veil to hold a corporation liable for a costs award against its subsidiary. This decision reaffirms that courts will only pierce the veil where a corporation is being abused to the point where it is not functioning as a bona fide corporate entity, and instead is being used as a vehicle to facilitate fraudulent or improper conduct.
Continue Reading Piercing the Corporate Veil – the Need for Clear Fraudulent or Improper Conduct

Join Baker Mckenzie’s global practitioners on Thursday, June 14 for a Deferred Prosecution Agreement Roundtable to gain important insights on:

  • The impact that Bill C-74 will have on corporate criminal law in Canada;
  • How the


Continue Reading Deferred Prosecution Agreements are coming to Canada. Are you prepared?