Michael’s diverse practice focuses on tax litigation. He acts regularly in complex commercial disputes and cases raising novel questions of constitutional and comparative law.
Clients in a wide range of sectors, including large and medium-sized corporations, high-net-worth individuals and charities, turn to Michael to present substantial amounts of legal and factual information in a manner that is clear and insightful. He has successfully represented clients at all levels of court across Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada.
Michael brings a unique understanding of international business to his clients’ matters. Prior to joining us, he worked as a researcher with an investment company in Japan and later as an officer in the Canadian Foreign Service, serving in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and China.
He has authored articles on a diverse range of legal subjects, some of which have been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Federal and Québec Courts of Appeal. He has also contributed to a number of textbooks on the art of debate.
Wärtsilä Canada Inc.
Acted for Wärtsilä Canada Inc., a Finnish based engineering firm, before the Supreme Court of Canada in connection with a product liability litigation arising out of the manufacture and supply of marine engines and associated equipment.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Acted successfully on behalf of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in favour of Wal-Mart before the Supreme Court of Canada in an appeal concerning the scope of the employer's right to cease operations, even where the alleged reason for the business closure was the employer's unwillingness to deal with a union that had recently obtained certification of the workplace.
Liquor Control Board of Ontario
Acted for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario in defending claims asserted against it for approximately $1.5 billion in antitrust class action proceedings pending in the Ontario Superior Court against the LCBO, Brewers Retail Inc. and a number of major brewers. In March 2018, Justice Perell of the Ontario Superior Court granted summary judgment dismissing all claims asserted against the LCBO and the other defendants, and awarded substantial costs of almost $800,000. The decision of Justice Perell granting summary judgment in favour of the LCBO was affirmed by the Ontario Court of Appeal in April 2019.
Successfully acted for Glen French before the Federal Court of Appeal in a case involving charitable donations, and specifically how the Québec civil law informs the meaning of the word "gift" in the Income Tax Act across Canada. The case is serving as a representative case (either officially or de facto) for over 300 other appeals before the Tax Court of Canada concerning leveraged donations.
George Markou et al.
Acting for George Markou and a group of over 250 taxpayers before the Federal Court of Appeal and the Tax Court of Canada in a matter relating to charitable donations made between 2001 and 2003 to the John McKellar Charitable Foundation, for which donation tax credits have been denied by the Canada Revenue Agency. The case has generated a number of derivative and interlocutory actions before the Tax Court of Canada and the Federal Court.
Successfully acted for the Aldo Group before the Supreme Court of Canada (defending against a leave application), the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario-Commercial List in proceedings against Mastercard to recover disputed amounts, defending against multiple motions by Mastercard to stay proceedings and to strike claims.
Cirvek Fund I
Successfully acted for Cirvek Fund I before the Supreme Court of Canada (defending against a leave application), the Quebec Court of Appeal and the Quebec Superior Court in an action seeking damages against its liability insurer for breach of its duty to defend.
B.M. Osborn Investments Inc., Stephen Bronfman, et al.
Acted successfully before the Quebec Court of Appeal for a group of property owners in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, in connection with their defence against a private expropriation of property to build a private road.
Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation
Successfully acted for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in a judicial review application brought by the City of Niagara and the Region of Niagara Falls concerning the selection process for an operator of the Niagara gaming bundle.
4032799 Canada Inc et al.
Successfully represented the developers of the Bell Campus on Nun's Island, Montréal, in a dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency before the Tax Court of Canada involving the proposed application of the general anti-avoidance rule.
In the News
George Pollack and Michael Lubetsky Reflect on Landmark Maritime Law Ruling in Canadian Lawyer and Lawyer’s Daily
Dec. 11, 2019 - Following the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in Desgagnés Transport Inc. v Wärtsilä Canada Inc., George Pollack and Michael Lubetsky, who represented the respondent defendants along with Joseph-Anaël Lemieux, spoke to Canadian Lawyer and The Lawyer’s Daily to share...
Desgagnés Transport v Wärtsilä Canada: Canadian Maritime Law Enters Uncharted Waters
Dec. 04, 2019 - The Supreme Court of Canada has plotted a new course for Canadian maritime law in Desgagnés Transport v Wärtsilä Canada, 2019 SCC 58. Distinguishing over 30 years of precedent, the Court held that provincial legislation that regulates private law matters (such as the Civil Code of...
Ontario Bar Association, Litigating Gender and Gender Identity in the Courts, “OBA Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Law, With the Support of the Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Law, and Entertainment, Media and Communications Law Program”; Toronto, ON
Dec. 04, 2019
Canadian Bar Association, Les Nouvelles Tendances du milieu juridique, “Droits fondamentaux des personnes transgenres, intersexes et non-binaires au Québec”; Montréal, QC
Oct. 31, 2019
Income Tax Disputes Involving Loss Years: Pitfalls, Foibles, and Possible Reforms
Oct. 08, 2019 - Canadian Tax Journal, Vol. 67, No. 3 (Canadian Tax Foundation)
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Stewart: CRA Audit Project Gone Awry, co-author
Apr. 01, 2019 - Canadian Tax Highlights, Vol. 27, No. 4 (Canadian Tax Foundation)
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SCC on Suing Tax Advisers
Jan. 18, 2019 - Canadian Tax Highlights, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Canadian Tax Foundation)
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Charity in Common Law and Civilian Traditions
Dec. 28, 2018 - Research Handbook on Not-For-Profit Law (Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing)
Purchase a copy of Research Handbook on Not-For-Profit Law.
T1135 Penalty Relief
June 01, 2018 - Canadian Tax Highlights, Vol. 26, No. 6 (Canadian Tax Foundation)
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$1.7 Million Civil Damage Award Against the CRA
Apr. 01, 2018 - In this article first published by the Canadian Tax Foundation in (2018) 26:4 Canadian Tax Highlights, Davies partner Michael Lubetsky discusses the implications of the B.C. Supreme Court’s groundbreaking decision to award a family $1.7 million against the CRA for malicious prosecution. ...