Red Flags in Tax

Course Date: June 20, 2002

Introduction and Opening Remarks

Daniel W. Burnett — Owen Bird Law Corporation, Vancouver 
Leo B. McGrady, QC — McGrady & Company, Vancouver

The New Defence of Responsible Communication
A discussion of the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Grant v. Torstar, embracing the first new defence to libel in a century for publications of public interest, handled "responsibly". The Supreme Court was careful to say the defence applies to all publishers, not just professional media, so everyone advising plaintiffs or defendants across a wide range of libel cases needs to know how the new defence applies.

Leo B. McGrady, QC — McGrady & Company, Vancouver

The Expanded Defence of Fair Comment 
The landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision in WIC v. Simpson has expanded the latitude for fair comment to include comments that are unfair, and has changed the test for "honest belief". A defence that was once easily lost has been given new life, and you will want to know how it works and how it has affected subsequent litigation.

Rhys Davies, QC — Davis LLP, Vancouver    

Networking Break

Internet Defamation Issues
Today, everyone is a publisher, including many people unfamiliar with defamation laws.

  • are website hosts or Internet Service Providers liable?
  • when will courts order disclosure of names by Internet providers?
  • if web publications are available anywhere, can you sue anywhere?
  • do limitation periods ever begin running on continuing Internet publications?
  • are web publishers liable for their hyperlinks?

Bryan G. Baynham, QC — Harper Grey LLP, Vancouver

Lunch (on your own)

Governments and Defamation
Recent rulings prohibiting government bodies such as municipalities from suing in defamation raise further questions about whether governments can end-run the rule by suing in the names of individual officeholders, or whether the ruling opens the door to reputation road kill among government bodies.

David F. Sutherland — David F. Sutherland & Associates, Vancouver


  • what is actually required to prove truth?
  • when is qualified privilege applicable and when is it lost?
  • what administrative or other hearings are protected by absolute privilege?

Daniel W. Burnett — Owen Bird Law Corporation, Vancouver

Networking Break
Defamation Practice

  • state of damage awards
  • meanings of words
  • pleading issues
  • changing rules regarding adverse evidence about the plaintiff—what constitutes malice
  • apologies and mitigating factors
  • SLAPP suits
  • jurisdiction issues under Weber
  • advising a would-be plaintiff or defendant

Donald A. Farquhar, QC — Pearlman Lindholm, Victoria  

Concluding Remarks

Daniel W. Burnett — Owen Bird Law Corporation, Vancouver 
Leo B. McGrady, QC — McGrady & Company, Vancouver