Gavin carries on a mature and very active general dispute resolution practice with special emphasis on commercial, construction, complex insurance and human rights issues. He has appeared before the Federal Court of Canada, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, the Federal Human Rights Tribunal, the Nova Scotia Provincial and Family Courts and the Courts of Appeal and Superior Courts of many other Provinces and Territories. He has also appeared before the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board and the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Tribunal. He has tried matters before both juries and judges alone. The matters in which he has been involved have been reported more than 100 times. He is also an active proponent of alternative forms of commercial dispute resolution, especially mediation.
As an Adjudicator of the Small Claims Court of Nova Scotia (since 1994) and as the Court’s first and only Chief Adjudicator (since 2001), he has presided over more than 3,500 hearings and has rendered approximately 3,300 written decisions. Gavin also serves the Province of Nova Scotia as its single member Private Career Colleges Appeal Board.
Outside of his practice, Gavin is an active member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society; having recently completed his third consecutive two-year term on its elected governing Council. He is also a member of the Society’s Hearing Committee (which deals with allegations of lawyer professional misconduct), and in the past has Chaired the Society’s Law Office Management Standards Committee and its Supreme Court Liaison Committee. He is also a member of the Advocates’ Society and the Canadian Bar Association; and on its behalf has co-authored two comprehensive reports, one on Judicial Salaries and Benefits and one on the Salaries and Benefits of the Prothonotaries of the Federal Court of Canada.
Gavin is a frequent presenter at continuing professional development conferences offered by the Canadian Bar Association, the Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia, the Advocates’ Society and the Real Estate Lawyers Association of Nova Scotia. His most frequent paper and presentation topics are on retention and billing, timekeeping, client service and the development of client service standards by lawyers and law firms, the use of experts and practice civility. He also presents at Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law on Chambers practice and on orientation to legal study and at the Nova Scotia Bar Admission Course on Experts. In the past taught, he has lectured in Business Law at Saint Mary’s University.
Very active in his community and in pro bono legal circles, Gavin is the National Chair of the Canadian Red Cross and a Past Chair of the Atlantic Zone of the Canadian Red Cross. His work within the Canadian Red Cross is concentrated in mother and child health in west central Africa, in the rehabilitation of northern and western Canadian Indigenous Peoples’ communities and in domestic natural disaster relief. In 2012, Gavin was the recipient of the Canadian Red Cross National Distinguished Service Award and in 2015 he was invested into The Order of the Red Cross.
Also active in the multiple sclerosis cause, Gavin was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal of 2012, principally for his fundraising efforts in the Atlantic and Nova Scotia Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tours as a member and then Leader of The Dirty Cranks Cycling Team.
Gavin’s pro bono legal work involves public pension benefit entitlements, debt relief and affordable housing, particularly for the elderly poor and criminal and regulatory defence work for young people ineligible for legal aid.
LL.B., Dalhousie University (1985)
B.A., Saint Mary's University (1981)