With over a decade of experience representing diverse clients in her broad commercial litigation and environmental law practice, Una approaches each file with a potent mix of legal acumen, astute judgment, tenacity, creativity and insight.
In her commercial litigation and dispute resolution practice she acts as counsel on a variety of matters, ranging from contractual and shareholder disputes, to professional negligence claims. Una represents an array of clients including small businesses, commercial property owners, strata corporations, developers, specialty insurers, and large, multi-national corporations and REITs.
A specific area of focus for Una is advancing or defending claims by public and private companies against directors and officers, or vice versa. These claims include negligence, fraud, wrongful dismissal, employment practices, securities, misrepresentation, breach of confidence, IP theft and breach of fiduciary duty. She represents and consults with corporations, small businesses, insurance companies, estates, boards and First Nations.
Una has a well-earned reputation for thinking like a business partner and providing business-focused advice that goes beyond the obvious legal answer to a more innovative solution. She is exceptional at simplifying complex issues and coming up with solutions that meet her clients’ objectives.
On the environmental front, Una’s practice is focused on risk management and cost recovery claims. She is recognized as a leading expert in BC’s ever-changing contaminated sites legal landscape. She routinely advises commercial property owners, developers, and other businesses on minimizing environmental risk arising from ownership of and operations on contaminated land. She represents clients in their applications for orders and instruments, including approvals in principle and certificates of compliance. Una works extensively on litigation matters related to recovery of remediation costs pursuant to the Environmental Management Act, as well as appeals before the Environmental Appeal Board. Una has specific, niche expertise at the intersection of municipal and environmental law which allows her to help clients redevelop the most complex contaminated sites. An accomplished author, Una has co-authored two books. The first, British Columbia Environmental Management Legislation & Commentary, a guide to the regulation of contaminated sites and, the second, Halsbury’s Laws of Canada – Environment (2022 Reissue).
Disputes often settle outside of court and Una has expertise with a full range of resolution avenues from early negotiated settlements, to acting as counsel in mediations and arbitrations. That said, Una is no stranger to the courtroom. She has represented clients at all levels of court in BC including the BC Court of Appeal and before the Environmental Appeal Board on files of significant complexity. Through diligence, planning, and strategic action, Una has become a leading lawyer and trusted advisor that her clients return to repeatedly for help with their toughest legal challenges.
For Una, success stems from well-balanced contributions to both her profession and community. She proudly serves as Harper Grey’s Chief Diversity Officer and together with the DIB Committee strives to foster a firm culture that values a wide range of perspectives, ideas, and experiences. Una is also the Co-Founder of Life in Law, a free and confidential support forum that aims to stem the exodus of women from the practice of law.
Named as an "Up and Coming Leading Lawyer" in the area of Environment (Nationwide - Canada) by Chambers Canada®, 2023
Named as one of the top 100 Women in Litigation by Benchmark Canada®, 2022
Named as an "Up and Coming Leading Lawyer" in the area of General Commercial Litigation (Regional - British Columbia) by Chambers Canada®, 2022-2023
40 & Under Hot List - Leading Lawyers Under 40 award recipient, Benchmark Canada®, 2018-2022
Rising Stars - Leading Lawyers Under 40 award recipient, Lexpert®, 2017
Recognized as a “Future Star” in British Columbia by Benchmark Canada®, 2018-2021
Recognized as a “Leading Lawyer to Watch” in Litigation - Corporate Commercial by Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory, 2018
Recognized as a "Leading Lawyer" in the area of Environmental Law by Best Lawyers® in Canada, 2019-2023
Recognized as a "Leading Lawyer" in the area of Corporate and Commercial Litigation by Best Lawyers® in Canada, 2022-2023
Recognized as a “Local Litigation Star” in British Columbia by Benchmark Canada®, 2022
Directors and Officers Litigation
- Represented the successful respondent (estate of a deceased former director of a public company) in an appeal by the company from the trial judge’s dismissal of its counterclaim in fraud. Eisler Estate v. GWR Resource Inc., 2021 BCCA 113
- Represented the successful plaintiff, defendant by Counterclaim, in obtaining full indemnification for legal fees expended at trial to defend allegations of fraud, pursuant to a contractual indemnity provision. Eisler Estate v. GWR Resources Inc., 2020 BCSC 562. Una’s client also obtained an order for contractual indemnification of the costs incurred in successfully defending the appeal. Eisler Estate v. GWR Resources Inc., 2021 BCCA 247.
- Successfully defended a former director and officer of a public mining company in a claim for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty brought by the company. Eisler Estate v. GWR Resources Inc., 2019 BCSC 1990
- Represented six out of seven former directors and officers in a multi-million dollar lawsuit brought by a public mining company for breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, civil conspiracy, unjust enrichment and intentional interference with public relations. Eastern Platinum Limited v. Cameron, 2020 BCSC 1490; 2020 BCSC 1353
- Successfully applied to remove a certificate of pending litigation from title to a valuable real property, on the basis of hardship and inconvenience, in the context of a fraud claim against a former director and officer of a public company. Eisler v. GWR Resources Inc., 2018 BCSC 162
Commercial (and Other) Litigation
- Acted as co-counsel for defendants in a $60M fraud case brought by an individual who was an undischarged bankrupt in Japan. The defendants applied for security for costs against the plaintiff. The application was successful, the defendants obtaining the highest security for costs award against an individual in this Province, a strategic move after which the plaintiff abandoned the claim against the defendants. Iwasaki v. Redford, 2016 BCSC 504
- Represented the successful party in an application to enforce an alleged agreement in a commercial dispute involving mining claims expropriated by the Province. Boss Power Corp. v. British Columbia, 2013 BCSC 638
- Represented an individual in a breach of contract and negligence claim against an accounting firm. Felty v. Ernst & Young LLP,2013 BCSC 815
- Represented the defendant in a negligent misrepresentation claim arising from an investment made by the plaintiffs in a Ponzi scheme. The defendant was also a victim of the scheme. Although the defendant was found liable for negligent misrepresentation, the plaintiffs were also found to have been negligent and 40% of damages were apportioned to the plaintiffs. Brausam v. Roland, 2011 BCSC 1349
- Represented the successful respondent in an appeal by the deceased husband’s estate from an order declaring that the parties were still married on the date of husband’s death. The Court of Appeal upheld the order. The Estate of Dennis Morgan, Deceased, v. Carol Fay Morgan, 2010 BCCA 299
- Represented the plaintiff, Association, in a fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty claim against a former director. Cosmetology Industry Assn. of British Columbia v. Nguyen, 2010 BCSC 1051
- Acted in a complex arbitration hearing involving a mining company and one of its shareholders in a breach of contract case.
- Represented various clients, ranging from individuals and small businesses, to large corporations, in breach of contract, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust claims in the context of various commercial disputes.
- Represented companies (large and small) in wrongful dismissal suits brought by former employees.
- Represented an oil tank manufacturer in several product liability suits.
- Represented landowners in expropriation claims against the Province and a municipality.
- Acted for the defendant in a 20-day trial involving a breach of an oral lease, which was subsequently resolved.
- Acted for a trustee in bankruptcy in inter-jurisdictional commercial matters related to the collection of large outstanding debts of bankrupt BC companies.
- Represented a BC company in the business of global independent advisory and merchant banking services in a breach of contract dispute involving significant fees related to a $32 Million investment made in the defendant as a result of the plaintiff’s efforts.
- Acting for a First Nations Band and its wholly owned corporation in multiple wrongful dismissal suits by former executives, and in independent claims brought by the Band and the company against the former executives for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and breach of contract.
- Acting for a plaintiff in a multi-million breach of confidence case.
Contaminated Sites Litigation and Risk Management
- Represented the City of Burnaby on a judicial review of the Board’s decision denying the City standing to appeal a certificate of compliance issued for lands owned by Suncor Energy Inc., adjacent to certain City lands for which Suncor also sought and obtained a certificate. Burnaby (City) v. British Columbia (Environmental Appeal Board), 2017 BCSC 2267
- Represented a victim of contaminant migration and obtained a site investigation order from the Ministry of Environment, pursuant to section 41 of the Environmental Management Act against the polluter. Valhalla Court / Husky Oil Limited – Site Investigation Order of the Director, Environmental Management Act, May 20, 2014
- Represented the successful party in an appeal from the Ministry’s decision refusing to issue a certificate of compliance for a commercial property in Coquitlam, BC. Burquitlam Building Ltd. and Morguard REIT v. British Columbia (Ministry of Environment),  B.C.E.A. No. 14
- Represented the former owners, operators and directors in the Gehring appeal, BC’s leading decision on allocation of clean-up costs for contaminated sites among responsible persons (matter resolved prior to hearing).
Contaminated Sites Litigation and Risk Management
- Advises large commercial property owners, developers and insurers respecting strategies to assess and minimize environmental risk in a variety of circumstances, including in the context of a lease, purchase and sale, redevelopment, investigation/remediation, etc.
- Assists clients in pursuing environmental closure (certificates of compliance) as well as releases of permits from the regulator for development properties in British Columbia.
- Defends environmental consultants and other experts facing negligence claims arising from investigation and remediation of contaminated sites.
- Acts in Supreme Court lawsuits involving claims for recovery of costs of remediation pursuant to the Environmental Management Act and common law
- Negotiates and drafts specific protective provisions in contractual documents (purchase and sale, remediation, site access, service agreements, etc.) to minimize / allocate environmental risk.
- Assists clients facing or pursuing requirements or orders from the Ministry of Environment.
- Advises executors respecting strategies to minimize environmental liability related to contaminated land in an estate.
- Acts for regional districts and landfill operators to ensure compliance with the Environmental Management Act, its regulations and permits related to disposal of contaminated soils and hazardous waste.
- University of British Columbia, LL.B., 2007
- University of British Columbia, B.Sc., 2004
- British Columbia, 2008
- 4th Edition of British Columbia Environmental Management Legislation & Commentary, LexisNexis® Canada, Co-Author (2016)
- Canadian Bar Association BC WLF Education Committee, Volunteer
- Fertile Future Canada, Board Member
- Harper Grey Practice Management Committee, Member
- Harper Grey Environmental Law Group, Co-Chair
- Harper Grey Mentoring Program, Mentor
- Harper Grey Real Estate Law Group, Former Assistant Chair
- Life In Law, Co-founder
- BC Environmental Industry Association (BCEIA), Member
- BC Expropriation Association, Member
- BC Shopping Mall Association (BCSMA), Member
- Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch Subsections, Member:
- Civil Litigation
- Insurance Law
- Women Lawyers Forum
- Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, Environmental Law Subsection, Member-at-Large
- Canadian Urban Institute, Member
- Commercial Real Estate Women’s Network (CREW), Member
- Environmental Managers Association of BC (EMA), Member
- Mortgage Investment Association of BC (MIABC), Member
- NAIOP Vancouver Chapter, Member
- National Brownfield Association, Member
- The Law Society of British Columbia, Member
- Women in Energy Network, Member