Canadian Lawyer InHouse

April/May 2020

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse 37 for issues in the news that can be financially lucrative that they can use as a launching pad for a class action case." Agarwal expects to see a rise this year in the number of class actions involving big data as well as securities class actions against cannabis companies. In-house counsel in Ontario are awaiting the outcome of bill 161, which was announced by the provincial government in July 2019 and includes significant amendments to the Class Proceedings Act, 1992. Named the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, bill 161 proposes to place U.S.-style certification tests on potential class action cases, making the process of certification far more onerous. The proposed changes appear to be more defendant friendly, which is good news for in- house counsel at institutions that are regularly the subject of class actions. However, ac- cording to Sharp, the number of class actions will not be reduced as potential claimants in Ontario will simply take their actions to other provinces. "If the amendments proposed by the government are enacted in their current form, we can expect to see a lot more class actions brought to more plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions like British Columbia where there is not such a high bar for certification and no costs; so, from a plaintiff's perspective, it's ideal," says Sharp. A rise in litigation funding options has spurred new claims that might otherwise not be made due to a lack of resources. Glob- al company Woodsford Litigation Funding recently entered the Canadian market, adding new options for claimants pursuing litigations, including class actions. "We ensure that litigation opportunities that are good and meritorious see the light of day," says Woodsford CEO Steven Friel, who is based at the company headquarters in London, UK. "Class action cases that should already have been brought in Canada where defendants have engaged in wrongdoing will now be pursued." Friel says the goal is to replicate in Canada the work Woodsford has been doing in other parts of the world. He anticipates considerable opportunities in the Canadian market including many cases in securities class actions and anti-trust class actions.

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