Dennis J. James, QC

Legal Assistant: Elizabeth Branscombe

Dennis James is a partner of Patterson Law and provides leadership in the areas of commercial litigation, municipal law, employment law, aboriginal law and health law. In his 29 years of providing practical legal counsel, Dennis has conducted and assisted in trials at all levels of court in Nova Scotia as well as the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board and other administrative tribunals. He has taught at his alma mater - Dalhousie University - and has lectured about Business Law at the Nova Scotia Agriculture College. As a proud member of the Colchester Community, he has served on the boards of the Colchester United Way, the Marigold Cultural Centre, the Downtown Truro Partnership and the Boys and Girls Club. He was recognized as a Litigation Star in the Atlantics in the 2016 and 2017 editions of Benchmark Canada's "Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys", and was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers™ in Canada 2018 in the field of Corporate and Commercial Litigation.

 

  • Appointed Queen`s Counsel, 2014
  • Bar Admission: Nova Scotia, 1987
  • LL.B. (Dalhousie University, 1986)
  • B.A. (Honours, Dalhousie University, 1983) 
  • Has been lead counsel or co-counsel in significant commercial litigation including: of civil conspiracy, securities law, shareholder disputes, breach of trust, forced sale provisions of the Condominium Act, receivership and insolvency, expropriation claims, successful prosecution of a claim under guarantees including defence of cross claim alleging Receiver`s negligence, good faith in completion of commercial agreement for purchase and sale, defence to class action claim of environmental liability, employment issues, construction claims, tender law, fishery trust agreement, statutory offences under Occupational Health and Safety Act and other provincial legislation and regulation, Fisheries Act, other federal legislation and regulation, advice before professional governing bodies, property title and boundary claims and issues relating to subrogated claims.
  • He is solicitor to the Municipality of the County of Colchester, Nova Scotia`s fourth largest municipality, solicitor to the Town of Westville, Solicitor to the Pugwash Village Commission and is consulted by various municipalities on a range of issues relating to municipal government. He regular advises on all provisions of the Municipal Government Act and related provincial legislation, on collective agreement, employment issues, land use and planning issues, environmental issues, drafting and interpretation of by-laws and by-law enforcement, jurisdictional issues, Council procedure and governance, conflict of interest, negotiations with other municipalities, provincial government and First Nations.
  • He advises health authorities, institutional clients and public bodies on issues of employment issues, governance and liability issues, construction issues including tendering, contract issues including interpretation and disputes, statutory interpretation and issues of jurisdiction.
  • He is routinely consulted by non-profit and charitable organizations on issues of governance, employment and labour matters, liability issues and risk managements issues, and legislative and regulatory obligations. 
Professional Activities and Affiliations
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Nova Scotia Barristers` Society
  • Board of Directors, Crossley Carpets Ltd. - 1994-1999
  • Principal Secretary to Premier John Savage - 1992-1993
  • Roster Member for Boards of Inquiry (NS Human Rights) - 2002-present
  • Managing Partner, Patterson Law - November, 2003 to February, 2013
Personal, Community and Volunteer Activities
  • Vice-Chair, Cobequid Arts Council - 2008-present
  • Vice Chair, Marigold Cultural Centre Co-operative Ltd - 2004-2008
  • CCSA Soccer - coaching minor soccer- 2002-2013
  • DSS PTG - 2002 - 2008
  • Chair, CBA (National) - Conference on Aboriginal Law - Aboriginal Ownership and Management of Resources in Canada: An Analysis of Litigation and Negotiation "Getting to a Win-Win?" - 2003
  • Chair, Election Readiness and General Election Campaign - Nova Scotia Liberal Party - 1999
  • Colchester County United Way - various positions over a number of years, including General Campaign Chair, 1992, and President, 1996-1998
  • Secretary, Downtown Truro Partnership
  • Past President, Provincial Councils Boys & Girls Club of Nova Scotia, 1990-1992 
  • “Drilling Down (and Up) through the quagmire of resource rights, regulations and agreements: A look at fracking, wind turbines and other research issues”, CBA webinar presentation, December, 2012
  • “Respectful Workplaces”, presentation to NS Insurance Women’s Association, September, 2012
  • “Recovery of Claims under $40,000: Can the systems respond?”, CBA webinar presentation, December, 2010
  • "Ebbs and Flows of Municipal Water Management" presentation, April 2008, CBA - Municipal Law.
  • 2007 Lawyers Weekly, Contributor to Municipal Law Supplement on "New BSE Standards Challenge Waste Management Systems"
  • November 2006: Update of Case Law on Undue Burden: Duty to Accommodate; Infonex Conference, Halifax
  • Civil Procedure Workshop - Lecturer, Dalhousie Law School, 2001 - 2007
  • CBA (NS) - January, 1998 Presentation "Aboriginal and Treaty Rights"
  • Conference of Municipal Administrators, September, 1997 - "Access to Municipal Records"
  • Lecturer on Business Law - Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Degree Program - 1989-1992; 1994-96
  • Paper - "Not for Profit Organization"; "Patient`s Rights", "Certificate of Titles - Professional Responsibility"; "Marketable Titles Act"; "Charter Implications of Nova Scotia`s Public Education Financing" 

Qualifications

  • Appointed Queen`s Counsel, 2014
  • Bar Admission: Nova Scotia, 1987
  • LL.B. (Dalhousie University, 1986)
  • B.A. (Honours, Dalhousie University, 1983) 

Experience

  • Has been lead counsel or co-counsel in significant commercial litigation including: of civil conspiracy, securities law, shareholder disputes, breach of trust, forced sale provisions of the Condominium Act, receivership and insolvency, expropriation claims, successful prosecution of a claim under guarantees including defence of cross claim alleging Receiver`s negligence, good faith in completion of commercial agreement for purchase and sale, defence to class action claim of environmental liability, employment issues, construction claims, tender law, fishery trust agreement, statutory offences under Occupational Health and Safety Act and other provincial legislation and regulation, Fisheries Act, other federal legislation and regulation, advice before professional governing bodies, property title and boundary claims and issues relating to subrogated claims.
  • He is solicitor to the Municipality of the County of Colchester, Nova Scotia`s fourth largest municipality, solicitor to the Town of Westville, Solicitor to the Pugwash Village Commission and is consulted by various municipalities on a range of issues relating to municipal government. He regular advises on all provisions of the Municipal Government Act and related provincial legislation, on collective agreement, employment issues, land use and planning issues, environmental issues, drafting and interpretation of by-laws and by-law enforcement, jurisdictional issues, Council procedure and governance, conflict of interest, negotiations with other municipalities, provincial government and First Nations.
  • He advises health authorities, institutional clients and public bodies on issues of employment issues, governance and liability issues, construction issues including tendering, contract issues including interpretation and disputes, statutory interpretation and issues of jurisdiction.
  • He is routinely consulted by non-profit and charitable organizations on issues of governance, employment and labour matters, liability issues and risk managements issues, and legislative and regulatory obligations. 

Activities & Affiliations

Professional Activities and Affiliations

  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Nova Scotia Barristers` Society
  • Board of Directors, Crossley Carpets Ltd. - 1994-1999
  • Principal Secretary to Premier John Savage - 1992-1993
  • Roster Member for Boards of Inquiry (NS Human Rights) - 2002-present
  • Managing Partner, Patterson Law - November, 2003 to February, 2013
Personal, Community and Volunteer Activities
  • Vice-Chair, Cobequid Arts Council - 2008-present
  • Vice Chair, Marigold Cultural Centre Co-operative Ltd - 2004-2008
  • CCSA Soccer - coaching minor soccer- 2002-2013
  • DSS PTG - 2002 - 2008
  • Chair, CBA (National) - Conference on Aboriginal Law - Aboriginal Ownership and Management of Resources in Canada: An Analysis of Litigation and Negotiation "Getting to a Win-Win?" - 2003
  • Chair, Election Readiness and General Election Campaign - Nova Scotia Liberal Party - 1999
  • Colchester County United Way - various positions over a number of years, including General Campaign Chair, 1992, and President, 1996-1998
  • Secretary, Downtown Truro Partnership
  • Past President, Provincial Councils Boys & Girls Club of Nova Scotia, 1990-1992 

Publications & Presentations

  • “Drilling Down (and Up) through the quagmire of resource rights, regulations and agreements: A look at fracking, wind turbines and other research issues”, CBA webinar presentation, December, 2012
  • “Respectful Workplaces”, presentation to NS Insurance Women’s Association, September, 2012
  • “Recovery of Claims under $40,000: Can the systems respond?”, CBA webinar presentation, December, 2010
  • "Ebbs and Flows of Municipal Water Management" presentation, April 2008, CBA - Municipal Law.
  • 2007 Lawyers Weekly, Contributor to Municipal Law Supplement on "New BSE Standards Challenge Waste Management Systems"
  • November 2006: Update of Case Law on Undue Burden: Duty to Accommodate; Infonex Conference, Halifax
  • Civil Procedure Workshop - Lecturer, Dalhousie Law School, 2001 - 2007
  • CBA (NS) - January, 1998 Presentation "Aboriginal and Treaty Rights"
  • Conference of Municipal Administrators, September, 1997 - "Access to Municipal Records"
  • Lecturer on Business Law - Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Degree Program - 1989-1992; 1994-96
  • Paper - "Not for Profit Organization"; "Patient`s Rights", "Certificate of Titles - Professional Responsibility"; "Marketable Titles Act"; "Charter Implications of Nova Scotia`s Public Education Financing"