Andrew Nathanson’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and white collar crime. He is Co-Leader of the firm’s White Collar Defence and Investigations group. Recognized as leading litigator by Chambers Global, Benchmark Canada, Lexpert and Best Lawyers, commentators consistently highlight his meticulous preparation and problem-solving skills.
Complex commercial litigation
Andrew is sought after by corporations, directors and investors for his expertise in shareholders' disputes, oppression claims, proxy contests, and commercial disputes. Many of Andrew's commercial cases involve multi-jurisdictional disputes. Andrew was co-counsel for Lions Gate Entertainment, successfully defeating the Icahn Group’s oppression claim and proxy contest seeking control of Lions Gate. The case featured parallel proceedings before the BC Supreme Court, BC Securities Commission and federal and state courts in New York.
White collar crime and public law expertise
In the area of white-collar crime, Andrew has acted for both the Crown and defence. He has particular experience assisting corporations and individuals in responding to criminal and regulatory investigations, in some cases avoiding charges altogether.
In 2013, Andrew was counsel in what was described as one of the most complex occupational health and safety investigations in WorkSafe BC’s history. No charges were laid. In an aggravated sexual assault investigation, Andrew successfully resisted a production order, obtaining what is believed to be the first-ever recognition in Canada of a common law privilege for HIV-related health records.
Some of the significant criminal and constitutional cases in which Andrew has been involved are:
• Free speech during elections (R. v. Bryan 2007 SCC 12);
• The right of drug addicts to access harm-reduction based health services (Canada (Attorney General) v. PHS Community Services Society 2011 SCC 44);
• The obligation of witness police officers to complete their duty notes in civilian police oversight investigations without the participation of counsel (Schaeffer v. Wood 2013 SCC 71);
• Jury secrecy and when jury verdicts may be set aside for reasonable apprehension of bias (R. v. Budai 2001 BCCA 349, application for leave to appeal dismissed);
• Refugee protection and human smuggling (R. v. Appulonappa 2015 SCC 59 and B010 v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) 2015 SCC 58);
• The constitutionality of mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking (R. v. Lloyd 2016 SCC 13 (factum only)); and
• The right to financial assistance to make full answer and defence (R. v. Ho 2003 BCCA 663, application for leave to appeal dismissed).
In other high-profile cases, Andrew was associate commission counsel in the second phase of the Davies Commission of Inquiry into the death of Frank Paul, a homeless Aboriginal man, which examined the Crown's charging decisions arising out of the in-custody death of Mr. Paul. He was also co-counsel for a sitting judge called as a witness at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry and was counsel to the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation in the preparation of the first successful application to offer supervised injection services following the Supreme Court’s decision in PHS and the passage of the Respect for Communities Act.
Andrew contributes substantial time to pro bono work and teaching civil litigation, advocacy and legal ethics. He was an adjunct professor of civil procedure at the Peter A. Allard School of Law from 2004 to 2016. He is an honorary member of the UK’s Commercial Bar Association, the co-chair of CLE BC’s Winning Advocacy Skills Workshop, former President of the Advocates’ Club, a Supreme Court Advocacy Institute participant and a regular CLE contributor.