News Categories


COVID-19: Gradual Return-to-Office Plan and Policy

May 29th, 2020

Bernard LLP is committed to the safety of its staff and to the wellbeing of the community we serve. Our COVID-19 response plan and systems are designed to allow us to provide continuing and essential services to clients as uninterrupted as possible.  Please continue to contact the lawyers in the firm as you normally would. As governments are now moving… more »

COVID-19 Update

March 17th, 2020

The ongoing development of COVID-19 has required Bernard LLP to regularly review our day to day operational practices. Starting March 17, and based on advice from the federal, provincial and local governments, a number of our staff will be working remotely, although our office will remain open. Importantly, Partners and Associate lawyers will continue to work either in office or… more »

Connie Risi Appointed to the Board of the College of Optometrists of British Columbia

January 8th, 2020

We are pleased to announce that Connie Risi has been appointed as a Public Member of the Board of the College of Optometrists of British Columbia. A large part of Connie’s practice is in the area of professional regulation and liability. In that context, she has represented healthcare professionals with respect to registration issues, complaints, disciplinary proceedings and other… more »

Jason Hicks is our newest partner

April 12th, 2019

The Partners of the firm are delighted to announce that Jason Hicks has joined the partnership at Bernard LLP, effective January 1, 2019.  Jason brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the firm having practiced corporate and commercial law in both a private practice setting and as in-house counsel for large public and private enterprises.   Jason is a member… more »

Bernard LLP successfully defends the M/V Marathassa

March 22nd, 2019

Peter Swanson and David Jones of Bernard LLP along with Mark Rowan of Hira Rowan were completely successful in defending the M/V Marathassa in relation to a variety of charges arising out of the discharge of fuel oil from the ship into English Bay in the Port of Vancouver in early April 2015.   While some of the charges were stayed… more »

Peter Swanson is now listed as an Arbitrator with the China Maritime Arbitration Commission (“CMAC”)

February 27th, 2019

CMAC was established in 1959 and “… has been committed to building a team of elite arbitrators with strong work ethics and substantial relevant experience.”  In accordance with that philosophy Bernard LLP partner, Peter Swanson, was appointed as arbitrator with CMAC.  The appointment is effective from September 1, 2018 and extends through to April 30, 2020, subject to renewal. … more »

David Jarrett and Glen Krueger Successfully Defend Environmental Clean-Up Claim

February 5th, 2019

The Federal Court recently issued an important decision regarding whether the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund (“SOPF”) can recover for pollution clean-up costs from a company (or its’ principal shareholder) that was not the actual owner of a barge, but that remained, through inadvertence, the registered owner: see The Administrator of the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund v. Dr. Jim Halvorson Medical more »

Elyn Underhill Joins Bernard LLP as Associate Counsel

October 12th, 2018

The Partners of Bernard LLP are pleased to announce that Elyn Underhill has joined the firm as associate counsel.  Elyn has over 25 years of experience practicing in the field of maritime law, including marine insurance, ship construction contracts, charter parties, and marina leases as well as related litigation.  The Partners have worked opposite Elyn over the years and are… more »

Harry Ormiston joins Bernard LLP as our newest litigation associate

June 4th, 2018

The Partners of Bernard LLP are delighted to welcome Harry Ormiston as the newest member of our litigation team.  Harry articled with Bernard LLP after graduating with both a Juris Doctor and LLM from Bond University in Australia.  Harry is a welcomed addition to the litigation side of the firm and will work closely with our senior lawyers to provide… more »

The Partners are delighted to welcome Jason Hicks, our newest business lawyer, to the Firm

November 7th, 2017

The Partners of Bernard LLP are delighted to welcome Jason Hicks as the newest member of our legal team. Jason brings a wealth of legal and business experience to the firm having practiced as in-house counsel for over a decade with significant contributors to the Vancouver market, including the Vancouver International Airport Authority and most recently Pacific NorthWest LNG. “Jason… more »

Glen Krueger Joins Bernard LLP as our Newest Litigation Associate

February 27th, 2017

The partners are pleased to welcome Glen Krueger to the firm as our newest litigation associate. Glen was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 2015 and to the Bar of Ontario in 2012.  Glen brings a number of years of experience working with and advising insurers and other clients in a litigation context both in British Columbia and… more »

Mark Gill joins Bernard LLP as our Newest Associate

August 9th, 2016

The partners are pleased to welcome Mark Gill to the firm as our newest associate. Mark was called to the Bar of British Columbia in May 2016, after completing his articles at a regional firm in downtown Vancouver. Mark will practice with our Business Law Group will advise companies on general corporate matters including incorporation, reorganization, corporate governance and major… more »

Bernard LLP lawyers dominate at the Mel Patterson-Delich-Emard Memorial Pool Tournament

March 7th, 2016

Bernard LLP lawyers, Peter Swanson and Michael Soltynski, won gold and silver team trophies, respectively, at the recent Mel Patterson-Delich-Emard Memorial Pool Tournament held in San Francisco on March 4 following the traditional Phil Berns Memorial West Coast Pacific Admiralty Bar Post-Holiday event. Peter Swanson and his team mate, Dino Rosso, won the tournament, defeating Michael Soltynski and Tim… more »

Bernard LLP lawyer elected VP of WISTA Canada

December 24th, 2015

Joanna Dawson has been elected VP, Western of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Canada.  WISTA is a worldwide networking organization for women at the management level in the maritime industry. WISTA facilitates the exchange of contacts, information, and experiences among its members; promotes and facilitates the education of its members; and provides liaison with related organizations worldwide. WISTA… more »

Maritime Law Update: OW Bunker Bankruptcy

October 1st, 2015

Bernard LLP lawyers Peter Swanson and Megan Nicholls were successful in obtaining judgment in the Federal Court on behalf of a Canadian bunker supplier in the context of the OW Bunker bankruptcy: Canpotex Shipping Services Limited v. Marine Petrobulk Ltd., 2015 FC 1108. Justice Russell of the Federal Court delivered a lengthy and detailed set of Reasons rejecting arguments that more »

Watchful Eye

September 23rd, 2015

Bernard LLP Lawyer, Tom Beasley, has been appointed as the Public Representative on the Registration Committee for the College of Optometrists of British Columbia.  His appointment was made at the September 21, 2015 meeting of the Board of the College.  As Public Representative, Tom will be part of the process that assures the public and other stakeholders that… more »

Michael Soltynski joins Bernard LLP

September 14th, 2015

We are pleased to announce that effective September 14, 2015 Michael Soltynski has joined the firm as an associate.  Michael brings a broad range of legal and insurance experience to the firm, having been called to the Bar in South Africa and having previously worked as a legal claims handler at an International Group P&I Club and as an insurance… more »

James Vander Woude Changes Careers

June 9th, 2015

After much reflection, James has decided to leave the practice of law to pursue a new vocation in church leadership.  James will be part of a team serving the people of Trinity Central, a Christian church in downtown Vancouver.  He can be reached by email at   We wish James and his family all the best.… more »

Tom Hawkins Appointed to Pacific Regional Advisory Council on Oil Spill Response

April 15th, 2015

We are pleased to announce that Tom Hawkins was recently appointed to the Pacific Regional Advisory Council on Oil Spill Response by the Minister of Transport. Regional Advisory Councils, established under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, are advisory bodies that identify and make recommendations on policy issues affecting oil spill preparedness and response.  One of the principle mandates is… more »

Bernard LLP Lawyers are Again “Highly Recommended”

November 17th, 2014

Who’s Who Legal Canada has selected Gary Wharton (shipping & maritime), Peter Swanson (shipping & maritime), Tom Hawkins (shipping & maritime) and Nevin Fishman (product liability defence) for inclusion in its 2014 publication. These selections are based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only experienced lawyers who have met independent international research… more »

Peter Swanson Succeeds in the Court of Appeal Upholding a Determination that a Worksafe BC Order was Unreasonable

September 16th, 2014

The Court of Appeal for British Columbia in the case of British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority v. Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia, 2014 BCCA 353 upheld the lower Court’s determination that a Worksafe BC order against BC Hydro should be quashed.   Peter Swanson was counsel for BC Hydro at both levels of Court.  The case turned on the… more »

Peter Swanson and David S. Jarrett Elected to the Board of Directors of the International Sailors’ Society Canada

August 20th, 2014

Peter Swanson was re-elected and David S. Jarrett was elected for the first time to the Board of Directors of the International Sailors’ Society Canada (the “ISSC”).  The ISSC is a registered charity that contributes to Canadian seafarer organizations and centres that provide support to merchant seafarers. Peter G. Bernard, Q.C. (retired) stepped down from his board position with the… more »

Russell Robertson joins Bernard LLP

August 15th, 2014

We are pleased to announce that effective August 14, 2014 Russell Robertson has joined the firm as an associate. Russell brings a unique blend of practice skills to the firm, having clerked at the Federal Court in Ottawa and having practiced as a commercial litigator in Vancouver since December 2010.  Russell will continue to build his commercial litigation and insurance… more »

Amelja Zoehner called to the Bar

June 30th, 2014

We are pleased to announce that Amelja Zoehner was qualified as a lawyer on June 23, 2014 and is now practicing as the newest member of our litigation practice.   Amelja brings a unique set of skills to the practice of law and we look forward to her having a long and successful practice with Bernard LLP.… more »

Paul Mooney Returns to Ottawa

June 13th, 2014

Effective June 16, 2014, Paul Mooney is returning to his home town of Ottawa to continue his litigation practice. Paul is joining the Ottawa law firm of Bertschi Orth LLP. We wish Paul continued success at his new firm. Paul can be reached at 1410 Blair Place, Suite 400, K1J 9B9 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Tel: 613.749.4700; Fax: 613.749.4703).… more »

David S. Jarrett Appointed Legislative Liason to MIABC Executive

May 12th, 2014

David S. Jarrett was recently appointed as the Legislative Liaison for the Executive Committee of the Marine Insurance Association of British Columbia (“MIABC”) for the 2014 – 2015 term.  As Legislative Liaison, David’s duties include keeping the MIABC’s Executive Committee updated on any legislative changes or court decisions that may affect its membership. The MIABC is a non-profit organization whose… more »

Bernard LLP Welcomes New Associate Megan Nicholls

January 6th, 2014

We are pleased to announce that Megan Nicholls joined the firm effective January 6, 2014 as an associate.  Megan recently moved to Vancouver after having clerked with at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and having practice commercial litigation and insurance defence with a well known Hamilton firm. Megan is qualified to practice in both Ontario and B.C. and brings… more »

Who’s Who Legal Recognizes 4 Bernard LLP Lawyers

November 21st, 2013

We are proud to announce that 4 of the firm’s lawyers have been named in the Canada 2013 edition of Who’s Who Legal. Nominees are selected by Who’s Who Legal based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and lawyers in private practice worldwide. According to their requirements only lawyers “…. who have met independent international research criteria… more »

Peter Swanson elected a Member of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers

October 29th, 2013

Partner, Peter Swanson, is honoured to have been elected a member of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (“ICS”) at their recent Controlling Council meetings held in Vancouver.   Mr. Swanson is one of only two Canadians ever elected under the special provision of Bye Law 50 which provides: 50. Dispensation from examination or dissertation may be granted by the Controlling more »

Bernard LLP Lawyers Successful in Responding to the Appeal of Grieg Shipping A/S v. The Owners and All Others Interested in the Ship “Dubai Fortune” and Fortune Maritime Ltd.

September 18th, 2013

Bernard LLP lawyers W. Gary Wharton and David S. Jarrett were successful in having the appeal from the trial judgement found at Grieg Shipping A/S v. Dubai Fortune (Ship), 2012 FC 110 (CanLII) dismissed. The litigation arose following a collision between the tug Tiger Shark 2 and the Plaintiff’s vessel following the Tiger Shark 2’s departure from assisting the… more »

Bernard & Partners is now Bernard LLP

May 1st, 2013

Bernard & Partners, a general partnership of law corporations, is pleased to announce that effective May 1, 2013 the firm will transition from a general partnership to a limited liability partnership with the new name Bernard LLP. The transition from a general partnership to a limited liability partnership is done in accordance with the Partnership Act of British Columbia.… more »

Peter Swanson Appointed to the Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia Board of Directors

April 15th, 2013

We are pleased to announce that Bernard LLP lawyer Peter Swanson has been appointed a director of the Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia. The Chamber of Shipping is a not-for-profit industry association that was incorporated in 1923 with the objectives of representing the interests of international ship owners through their local agency. Today the Chamber of Shipping continues… more »

Joan Rush Retires from the Practice of Law

March 31st, 2013

Joan Rush has retired from the practice of law March 31, 2013. Joan was invaluable to our firm, assisting our client insurance underwriters, P&I clubs and brokers in regard to OSFI, FICOM and various other Canadian regulatory and compliance matters. Moreover, Joan continues to make an exceptional contribution to the community in her volunteer endeavours for charitable organizations in healthcare,… more »

Mark Tinmouth Moves to Courtenay, B.C.

January 15th, 2013

Mark, his wife, and his new daughter have decided to move to Courtenay on Vancouver Island. Mark will be commencing practice with the firm Bush & Company in Courtenay in the very near future. We wish Mark all the best in his new practice.… more »

David K. Jones Successfully Defends Ship Owner at TATC Appeal

December 20th, 2012

On November 26, 2009 Transport Canada issued a Notice of Violation to a cruise ship for violations under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 regarding the alleged discharge of a pollutant, failing to make entries in the oil record book, and obstructing inspectors.  The administrative penalties assessed for the alleged violations exceeded $45,000. David K. Jones of Bernard LLP represented the… more »

Tom Hawkins Completes 17 Day Sail Across Tasman Sea

December 19th, 2012

Tom Hawkins recently completed a 17 day sail across the Tasman Sea as crew aboard the well known 46’ boat “Mahina Tiare III”. The 1,500 mile passage across one of the more challenging Seas in the world from Brisbane to Auckland NZ included winds to 46 knots and was reportedly sailing at its best.… more »

Joan Rush Awarded Law Foundation Grant

June 27th, 2012

Joan Rush, Associate Counsel with Bernard LLP, was awarded a Law Foundation grant in April 2012 to study the issue of access to dental care for BC adults with developmental disabilities. Joan, and two UBC Law students working under her direction, will research the scope of Government’s obligation to ensure timely access to necessary dental treatment for this vulnerable… more »

David K. Jones Successfully Defends Ship Owner at TATC Review

February 9th, 2012

On November 26, 2009 Transport Canada issued a Notice of Violation to a cruise ship for violations under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 regarding the alleged discharge of a pollutant, failing to make entries in the oil record book, and obstructing inspectors.  The administrative penalties assessed for the alleged violations exceeded $45,000. David K. Jones of Bernard LLP represented the… more »

Peter Swanson Presents to Canadian Wheat Board

November 22nd, 2011

Bernard LLP lawyer Peter Swanson, along with David Hill of Compass Marine Vancouver, presented to the Canadian Wheat Board on the bills of lading and related carriage of goods issues. Mr. Swanson practices extensively in the field of maritime & admiralty, health law, litigation, and occupational health and safety, and appears regularly before courts and other tribunals. He has… more »

In the Media

Bernard LLP is Recognized as a Band 1 Firm in Chambers & Partner’s Canada Legal Guide

October 27th, 2016

Bernard LLP is delighted to again be recognized by Chambers & Partners as a leading Canadian maritime law firm.   The guide notes Bernard LLP is a “… [d]istinguished Vancouver firm widely recognised for the breadth and depth of its experience of commercial marine transactions and litigation … and that it “….[a]cts for a number of the International Group of P&I… more »

Peter Swanson Interviewed by the CBC

March 16th, 2015

Peter Swanson was interviewed and quoted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in their news item entitled “Challenges abound in retrieving NTCL barge adrift near Russia” posted on March 13, 2015.   Peter was asked about salvage rights that might exist for safe retrieval of a barge by a salvor.  The posting can be found at:  … more »

Chambers & Partners Recognizes Bernard LLP as “Band 1” Firm for Shipping Law

April 3rd, 2014

Bernard LLP is recognized as a “Band 1” law firm in relation to shipping in Canada by Chambers & Partners in their 2014 global guide to lawyers.  The guide has the following to say: What the team is known for A prominent Vancouver-based firm with a strong focus on admiralty and maritime matters throughout the West Coast. Notable expertise in… more »

W. Gary Wharton Featured in Lawyer’s Weekly Cover Story on Responsibility of Vessel Masters

March 2nd, 2012

Bernard LLP lawyer W. Gary Wharton is quoted in the article “Choppy Legal Water Ahead” published in the March 2, 2012 edition of The Lawyers Weekly, Canada’s leading weekly legal publication. He was interviewed by donalee Moulton and expresses his views on the responsibility of ship’s masters following the Costa Corcordia grounding off Giglio Island, Italy on January… more »


CMLA West Coast Open Meeting

July 11th, 2018

Peter Swanson was one of the key speakers at the recent Canadian Maritime Law Association west coast open meeting conducted in Vancouver in the context of the society’s annual general meeting. Peter’s presentation was an update on oil spill related legal issues and included a review of the following: powers of inspection and investigation and the important distinction between the… more »

Tom Beasley speaks at SFU Labour Studies Program

October 31st, 2017

On October 14, 2017, Tom Beasley was a panelist at a conference organized by the SFU Labour Studies Program at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue, in Vancouver. Tom responded to a keynote address by Michael Mitchell one of the Special Advisors to the Changing Workplaces Review commissioned by the Ontario government, and gave an update on the BC Law Institute’s more »

Peter Swanson speaks at the recent Shanghai and Beijing Maritime Arbitration Seminars

October 27th, 2016

Bernard LLP’s Peter Swanson gave presentations at the recent Maritime Arbitration Seminars held in Shanghai and Beijing, China on September 23 and 27 respectively.   The seminars were co-hosted by the China Maritime Arbitration Commission and the Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association (VMAA).   Peter was one of four speakers from the VMAA involved in the seminars, the others being Mr. Dennis… more »

Tom Beasley To Speak About Supporting Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorders

March 17th, 2015

Bernard LLP lawyer Tom Beasley and Dr. David Worling, a Registered Psychologist and BC’s leading Asperger’s psychologist, are co-presenting a paper on May 8, 2015 at the Employment Law CLE on “Supporting Employees with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)”, which will review: clinical characteristics associated with ASD along with the unique set of employment characteristics that can impact workplace… more »

Tom Hawkins and David Jarrett present to the Marine Insurance Association of British Columbia on Cross-Border Pollution

November 20th, 2014

Bernard LLP’s Thomas S. Hawkins and David S. Jarrett gave a presentation to the Marine Insurance Association of British Columbia’s Market Committee on November 18, 2014. The presentation was entitled Cross-Border Pollution – Pacific Focus and dealt with ship-source pollution issues in both Canada and the United States as well as a comparison of the two jurisdictions’ compensation regimes.… more »

Peter Swanson Speaks to the BC Urological Society

November 3rd, 2014

Bernard LLP partner Peter Swanson recently presented a talk to the BC Urological Society at their meeting in Vancouver on October 4, 2014. Peter’s talk was entitled “MSC Audits: The Physician’s Burden” and addressed a number of key issues in the audit process including what to do when the auditor calls, understanding the basic audit framework, recognizing the importance of… more »

Connie Risi Presents Legal Updates in Life and Disability Insurance at 2014 CLHIA Legal Section Meeting

September 24th, 2014

Bernard LLP lawyer Connie Risi was a recent presenter at the Legal Section Annual Meeting of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, a non-profit association with member companies accounting for 99% of Canada’s life and health insurance business. The meeting took place in Montebello, Quebec, spanning 3 days from September 17 to 19, 2014. Connie spoke on the… more »

Peter Swanson speaks in Yellowknife at the 2013 Annual National Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Summit

June 25th, 2013

Peter Swanson participated as a speaker on the water law panel at the 2013 Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Summit entitled “Natural Resource and Energy Legal Developments North and South of 60.” The summit was held in Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories, during the summer solstice.   Peter’s presentation focused on the regulation of ship-source pollution in Canada including… more »

Connie Risi to Speak at Disability Insurance Claims Conference

September 25th, 2012

On October 29, 2012, Bernard LLP associate Connie Risi will be presenting at the 6th Edition of the Disability Claims Management and Litigation Conference. Specifically, she will discuss mental and psychological disabilities claims, in a session entitled Diagnosing Mental and Psychological Disabilities, with co-presenters Dr. Stephen Holliday and Terry Napora. The conference is presented by Insight Information and… more »

Upcoming Seminar: Bullying, Harassment and Mental Stress Claims — Are You Prepared?

August 27th, 2012

Bernard LLP is pleased to be offering a seminar entitled “Bullying, Harassment and Mental Stress Claims: Are You Prepared?” in September. This 90-minute session will explain the new mental stress claims provisions of the Workers Compensation Act and the new regulations concerning workplace bullying and harassment. Attendees will learn: what has changed how to mitigate the impact of… more »

Peter Swanson to Speak on Carriage of Goods at Shipping Business Course

February 13th, 2012

February 21st, 2012 will see the roll out of a revamped Business of Shipping course with a day of focus on aspects of Shipping Law (morning) and Chartering (afternoon).  Bernard LLP lawyer Peter Swanson will present a a session on Bills of Lading and Letters of Indemnity. The afternoon session will address the structure of chartering in the bulk, tanker… more »

David Jones to Speak on Workplace Safety

January 12th, 2012

David Jones will co-present a session on Workplace Safety: Conflicting Obligations – The Push and Pull of Reporting at the upcoming  7th Annual Western Canada Labour Relations conference, held January 24-25, 2012. The session will be presented with Stephen Hunt of United Steelworkers District 3, and focus on WCB reporting, rights and responsibilities of employers and workers, due diligence, and… more »

Peter Swanson & David Jones to Present to BC Brokers

January 10th, 2012

Peter Swanson and David K. Jones will present a seminar on Advanced Marine Liability Coverage and Claims, through the Insurance Brokers Association of BC. The seminar will take place on February 14, 2012 and cover marine insurance coverage, bodily injury claims in a marine context, arrest of ships and maritime liens, as well as ship source pollution. For more… more »