Crown Law Office - Civil

Office Snapshot

  • Location: Toronto
  • Lawyers: 65+
  • Articling Students: 8-10
  • Summer Law Students: 6-10
  • Types of Law: Aboriginal, Access & Privacy, Administrative, Civil, Commercial, Contract, Constitutional, Corporate, Employment, Environmental, Health, Human Rights, Labour, Mental Health, Torts

Who we are

The Crown Law Office – Civil (CLOC) is the central civil litigation and advisory office for the Government of Ontario. With more than 65 lawyers, it provides advice and representation to Crown agencies, corporations and ministries across Ontario. CLOC counsel appear in all levels of court, including the Supreme Court, and are routinely involved in complex, high profile civil litigation and advisory matters.

What we do

Our work includes general civil litigation, administrative law, aboriginal litigation, inquest and inquiries, corporate commercial litigation, advisory services, and more.

General Civil Litigation

The general civil litigation work at CLOC is incredibly diverse, and our clients include Crown employees, agencies, and ministries. The types of cases that our counsel regularly handle cover all areas of the law including, regulatory negligence, class actions, negligent investigation, malicious prosecution, institutional abuse claims, litigation concerning Crown lands, and general public interest litigation.

Administrative Law

The scope and variety of our administrative law practice is unmatched in the province. Our counsel regularly appear on applications for judicial review and statutory appeals representing the Attorney General, Ministry service providers, tribunals or government decision makers.

Inquiries or Inquests

We are involved in almost every public inquiry and Coroner’s Inquest that has a significant Crown interest. We have recently acted in several high-profile inquiries, including the Maher Arar, Ipperwash, Cornwall and Goudge Inquiries. Our office has also been involved in numerous inquests including the May-Illes, Reodica, and Osidacz inquests.

Corporate-Commercial Litigation

Our counsel are regularly called upon to represent the Crown and its agencies in some of the highest profile commercial litigation in the province. We routinely handle matters involving exposure exceeding one-hundred million dollars. While the Crown is often a defendant in these proceedings, CLOC increasingly represents the province as a plaintiff to recover damages for breach of contract, negligence and negligent misrepresentation.

Aboriginal Litigation

We act for the province in a wide variety of matters involving Aboriginal issues. A major aspect of this work involves the defence of claims advanced by Aboriginal peoples in civil actions including claims based on Aboriginal and treaty rights. Our counsel also provide advice on claims not yet before the courts, on Aboriginal consultation and Crown obligations under section 35 of the Constitution Act.

Advisory Services

Members of our advisory services group act as solicitors for the Ministry of the Attorney General and also provide legal advice and complex opinions to other ministries of government, as well as to Cabinet Office and the Premier’s office on a broad spectrum of legal issues with government-wide significance. In addition, advisory counsel provide advice on major procurement and other critical commercial projects.

Our major cases

  • SARS class action litigation: CLOC counsel acted for the province in defending litigation brought by patients and nurses who became infected with the SARS virus. CLOC counsel brought a Rule 21 motion on behalf of the province, which recently resulted in a precedent setting ruling from the Court of Appeal that Ontario did not owe a private law duty of care to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Casino Rama litigation: CLOC counsel acted for the province in defending significant claims brought by Ontario First Nations regarding the division of revenues from Casino Rama.  After the completion of the four and a half month trial in 2008, CLOC counsel are now acting for the Crown in responding to the Appeal launched by the First Nation hosting the actual casino at the Court of Appeal.
  • Goudge Inquiry: In this inquiry into the work of pediatric pathologist Dr. Charles Smith, CLOC acted for the province and Crown Attorneys involved in prosecutions involving Dr. Smith.
  • Arar Inquiry/Iacobucci Inquiry: CLOC acted for the Ontario Provincial Police in the inquiries into the overseas detentions of Maher Arar, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin.
  • Caledonia litigation: CLOC counsel are involved in defending civil proceedings brought on behalf of individuals and businesses in the Caledonia area as a result of the blockade set up by aboriginal protesters on the Douglas Creek Estates development site.

What students do

Students are an integral part of our office and are given significant responsibility from the start of their time with us. Students are given the opportunity to participate with counsel in all phases of actions, applications, and appeals. Students will also assist counsel in every aspect of legal work including legal research, providing opinions, drafting pleadings and facta. Where research is done in support of active litigation, students are encouraged to attend any proceeding that takes place within that matter.

Students are given independent carriage of small claims court files that often involve significant public law issues.

The articling term is comprised of rotations through our various practices areas.  While the four-month summer term is too brief to allow for formal rotations, we strive to ensure that CLOC’s summer law students are also exposed to the office’s varied practice areas.

Why choose us

"Articling at CLOC has given me the opportunity to experience a broad range of civil litigation matters in a supportive and experienced environment. While working on high profile, complex, multi-party matters, senior and junior counsel alike always considered my contribution important to the team." – Former Articling Student

We provide articling and summer law students who want to become litigators with a great opportunity to learn about practicing at the leading edge of public law. Students receive a well-rounded and high quality litigation experience. Students are encouraged to develop their litigation and analytical skills. There is ample opportunity to do so by providing thought-provoking analysis and by attending court and tribunal proceedings.

We offer students the opportunity to perform interesting work in a supportive environment. The collegiality at CLOC is as pronounced as the legal expertise.

Many of our articling and summer law students return as counsel to our office or elsewhere within the Ministry of the Attorney General after being Called to the Bar. Also, the following former CLOC counsel or students have become prominent members of the judiciary or legal community:

  • Justice Karen Weiler
  • Justice Thomas Lederer
  • Justice Craig Perkins
  • Master Joan Haberman
  • Master Julian Polika
  • Justice Blenus Wright
  • Justice Blenus Wright
  • Thomas Marshall, Q.C

Contact us

General inquiry: 416-326-4008