Best class action lawyers in Canada as ranked by Lexpert
By now established in Canada, Class Action lawyers continues to work on actions pertaining to personal injuries, including those involving defective medical products and procedures, defective products (automobiles, building products, etc.), and commercial loss (securities).
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What does a class action lawyer work on?
Generally, a class action is a civil action where the plaintiff is composed of multiple persons, who have been similarly injured and representing a larger class or sector, filing a suit against a defendant or a group of defendants. Class action lawyers can be counsels of either party – for the plaintiff, they ensure the equitable award of damages; for the defendant, class action lawyers would try to mitigate the damages sought to be recovered, or even disprove its totality.
Class action lawyers in Canada
Every province or territory in Canada has their own respective class action law or statute except for Prince Edward Island, although the nature and proceedings of the class action differs between the common law provinces and Québec civil law.
There are two stages in class actions in Canada. To institute a said action, the first stage of the action is the certification, where the class action is certified by the court for the common law provinces or where the application is authorised for those filed in Québec. During certification, common issues or questions of fact or law are certified to be determined during the trial proper, which is the second stage of class actions. This procedure has been undergoing changes due to case law, especially with the class action sequencing.
Although, some cases would be referred to arbitration, whenever necessary or when circumstance do permit it.
Class action lawyers primarily assists clients during these two stages, most importantly during the certification in order to proceed to trial. This would include preparation of pleadings, witnesses, or pieces of evidence to be presented.
Class actions in Canada does not employ national consolidation of similar suits or actions. This is because every province or territory is a separate and sovereign court jurisdiction with the other courts of other provinces. Hence, class actions can simultaneously proceed in different courts in different provinces. This may happen when there the different plaintiffs of a class action may be residents of different provinces.
Mass tort vs. Class action
A mass tort and class action are different in each other. Mass torts are multiple actions filed against a single defendant or group of defendants. It is similar to class action, where plaintiffs are made up of individuals suffering from the same injury or damage. However, their differences the procedure of each case – in class action, a class representative would be selected, who would pursue the action for class's common claim; but in mass torts, each plaintiff would still have to prove his/her claim since each person is treated differently, although their claim is from the same source or injury.
In pursuing a case either as mass tort or class action, it is better to consult with the best class action lawyers near you to determine which kind of action is beneficial, based on the circumstances of the specific claim.
Canada’s largest class action
The case of the Indian Residential Schools class action lawsuit is considered as one of the largest class actions in Canada. Starting from the 18th until the 19th century, the Canadian government began the assimilation of Indigenous Peoples through a system of residential schools. Similar to a boarding school, the Indigenous, First Nations, Métis and Inuit are mandated under the Indian Act to send their children to these residential schools, which are also mostly ran by churches. As a result, children are separated from their families and cultures, experienced abuse from teachers and administrators, and subjected to oppressive living conditions.
A class action lawsuit was filed against the Canadian government by the survivors, with class action lawyers as counsels, to sue the government over the lingering effect caused to the victims by the Indian residential schools. As a result, both parties have agreed to reach an Agreement-in-Principle for victims who have attended these schools from 1951 until 1992. The Agreement created a fund amounting to $1.9 billion as an award of damages.
What is the purpose of class actions?
Class actions provide for a simpler procedure to claim damages against established, large entities which at first look might be difficult to pursue. Since there’s collective effort among the plaintiffs and their class action lawyers – supposing that there are numerous lawyers becoming counsels – the chances of claiming award of damages against these big corporation or groups, or even from the government, are higher.
As to the judicial system, it is also easier and more convenient to purse class actions, rather than multiple lawsuits which arising from the same cause of action.
What are the benefits of class actions?
Classically, there is strength in numbers of plaintiffs, which would put further pressure on these defendant large corporations or the government to settle these actions through compensation to victims. The best class action lawyers are able to effectively use these large groups of people to get justice for all faster than one at a time.
As mentioned above, before a class action will prosper in the court, there has to be a certification, and as part of it is the selection of the class representative/s, or lead plaintiff/s to speak for and on behalf of the other plaintiffs. This will unburden the other plaintiffs, which is not available when they individually pursue their cases.
Due to the multiple plaintiffs in class actions, the necessary costs for class action lawyer fees and other costly litigation fees are spread out between them. When an award is granted at the end of the trial, these fees and costs may also be levied from the award.
Defendants also benefit out of class actions, because, if awarded, the damages paid to the plaintiffs would prevent future litigations out of the same cause of action, thereby saving the defendant further loses.
Since multiple suits are merged through class actions, courts are declog of repetitive litigations arising from a similar cause of action. For class action lawyers, it is also easier for their work since preparation of legal briefs and pieces of evidence are done through work effort and is already consolidated into one.
Litigations may work best individually or through class actions. Hear more from the best Lexpert-ranked class action lawyers to see what fits your case by scrolling below.