Neal Smitheman practises both civil and criminal litigation. His corporate commercial litigation practice results in frequent appearances on behalf of clients before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Appeal. Neal is often called upon to appear on short notice on matters ranging from corporate oppression to derivative actions to commercial injunctions. Neal's experience as a commercial litigator, coupled with his knowledge of environmental law, has resulted in him being retained to act on behalf of clients in several significant toxic tort cases currently before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
Neal has also developed an extensive criminal and quasi-criminal practice. While he has successfully defended numerous individuals charged under the Criminal Code of Canada, the main focus of his practice has been directed towards corporate criminal and quasi-criminal matters. Neal frequently is called upon to represent clients being investigated and charged under the Competition Act, Environmental Protection Act, the Ontario Water Resources Act, the Fisheries Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Electricity Act, the Atomic Energy Act, and other regulatory statutes.
As the Chair of the Toronto Aboriginal Law Practice Group, Neal is called upon to advise and represent clients in this burgeoning area of legal specialty. Neal is currently representing several mineral companies, numerous municipalities and others in high-profile cases in Northern and Southern Ontario involving, among other things, significant land claims. Neal has also been consulted by clients in ongoing negotiations with Native groups; he has negotiated a number of agreements with First Nations.
In addition to defending individuals and corporations charged under various regulatory statutes, Neal is frequently retained to represent clients in administrative law matters. Neal was successful in a landmark decision under the Environmental Assessment Act resulting in the first private proponent approval for a large waste management system to service southeastern Ontario. He has acted on numerous matters before the Ontario Municipal Board. At the Ontario Energy Board, Neal recently convinced the Board at a re-hearing to adopt a new approach to the unbundled cost of power distribution resulting in a significant cost saving to our client. He recently successfully challenged a newly enacted City of Toronto Parking By-Law that will have far reaching effects on private property owners in particular, and the City of Toronto Parking Authority in general.
Neal's Civil Law Degree provides him with the background necessary to negotiate with, and assist, lawyers practicing civil law and, in certain instances, to represent multi-national clients in the Province of Quebec.
Neal joined the firm in 1981 and became a partner in 1986.
Honours and Awards
- Chambers Global 2013 for Aboriginal Law
- Benchmark Litigation 2013 as a "Local Litigation Star" and "Litigation Star" for Aboriginal law in Canada
- Benchmark Litigation 2012 as an "Aboriginal law star," "Competition litigation star" and "International arbitration litigation star" and as a "local litigation star" for Aboriginal law, commercial litigation, competition and environmental law in Ontario
- Member, Canadian Bar Association
- Member, Ontario Bar Association