TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to the newly released Grant Thornton LLP National Litigation Survey Report, 46% of lawyers expect the number of legal disputes to increase. These respondents believe a growing Canadian population, “appetite” for litigation, and additional regulations are potential factors for the increase. On the other hand, 44% believe legal disputes will stay the same for the coming years. According to them, there are no watershed changes in the legal environment and we continue to experience a consistent economy.
Over the last year, Grant Thornton’s Forensics and Dispute Resolution team interviewed more than 100 litigators across the country to discuss the trends, issues, challenges and opportunities in today’s Canadian litigation environment. In this report, lawyers discussed how their litigation practices are changing, the impact of recent court decisions on their work, and what constitutes successful litigation.
In addition to the number of legal disputes, lawyers were also interviewed on the types of claims filed. More than half of lawyers (53%) expect to see an increase in certain types of claims filed due to emerging trends. Some of these trends include: an increase in class-action lawsuits as it becomes easier for groups to certify; disputes involving high-net-worth individuals related to investments; and cases involving common-law spouses and the division of property.
Jennifer Fiddian Green, National Forensics and Dispute Resolution Leader said, “These changes speak to the changing Canadian demographic and evolving business landscape.” Fiddian-Green further comments, “The lawyers we spoke with shared their insight on how shifting laws, economic and regulatory factors have affected their roles and the cases that they work on. We anticipate a lot of changes within this industry for the next few years.”
Overwhelmingly, 92% of respondents believe that class-action lawsuits will be on the rise this side of the border due to their lucrativeness and the courts increasing familiarity with them. Interestingly, in some areas of Canada, class-action cases are moving toward a no-costs regime where plaintiffs are only responsible for their own legal costs.1
Another reason for this overwhelming response is due to business consolidation which is creating larger corporations with deeper pockets. This makes class action more attractive. Fiddian-Green furthers comments, “We’re hoping this report spotlights emerging trends within the industry and provides insights on the evolving role of the Canadian litigation lawyer.”
For a copy of the report, please visit: www.GrantThornton.ca/Litigation
From October 2013 to August 2014, Grant Thornton litigation professionals sat down with 108 lawyers for the structured, one-on-one interviews that informed the National Litigation Survey Report.
Lawyer comments were captured as thoroughly as possible, analyzed and then standardized into quantitative findings in a litigation database for reporting purposes.
The lawyers range from independent litigators to practitioners at larger international firms. Most devote 100 percent of their time to litigation, though some have a more generalist practice. Together they represent 70 firms in the legal marketplace from each of Canada’s ten provinces.
About Grant Thornton LLP in Canada
Grant Thornton LLP is a leading Canadian accounting and business advisory firm, providing audit, tax and advisory services to private and public organizations. We help vibrant organizations achieve their growth potential by offering judicious and practical advice through a wide array of services. Together with the Quebec firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton LLP, we have approximately 4,100 people in offices across Canada.
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1 “Class Actions in British Columbia,” The Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia Branch.