About Gavin

Gavin is a Partner at McInnes Cooper. Gavin carries on a mature and very active general dispute resolution practice with a 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; and he conducts an active commercial arbitration practice. Gavin has been recognized for many years by Best Lawyers Canada and the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory of Leading Lawyers. He is also listed by Benchmark Litigation Canada as a Provincial Litigation Star.

As an Adjudicator of the Small Claims Court of Nova Scotia (1994-2001) and as the Court’s first and only Chief Adjudicator (2001-2021), Gavin has presided over more than 3,500 hearings and has rendered approximately 3,300 written decisions. Gavin has also served on the Province of Nova Scotia’s single member Private Career Colleges Appeal Board.

Outside of his practice, Gavin has in the past been an active member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society; having completed three 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 has served on the Queen’s Counsel Appointment Recommendation Committee and is the Society’s representative on the Courthouse Standards Committee. He has in the past 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 has co-authored two comprehensive reports submitted by the Canadian Bar Association to the Federal Government; 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 programs 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 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 has also presented at Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law on the orientation to legal study and at the Nova Scotia Bar Admission Course on expert evidence. In the past, he has taught and lectured in Business Law at Saint Mary’s University and the Schulich School of Law on Civil Procedure and Chambers Practice.

Very active in his community and pro bono legal circles, Gavin was the National Chair and now Past Chair of the Canadian Red Cross Society. His work within the Canadian Red Cross has been concentrated on mother and child health in west central Africa, the rehabilitation of northern and western Canadian Indigenous Peoples’ communities, natural disaster relief, fiscal responsibility and transparency, and gender balance in the governance of the international humanitarian sector. He has frequently represented the Canadian Red Cross internationally. In 2012, Gavin was the recipient of the Canadian Red Cross National Distinguished Service Award and in 2015 he was invested in The Order of the Red Cross. He is also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work in the Multiple Sclerosis cause, 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 also leads the McInnes Cooper “Road Riders For Cancer” in the annual Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre Foundation’s BMO Ride For Cancer.

Gavin’s pro bono legal work involves public pension benefit entitlements, debt relief and affordable housing, particularly for the elderly and poor and criminal and regulatory defence work for young people ineligible for legal aid.

Awards & Recognitions

  • Repeatedly Recommended by The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory for Litigation - Corporate Commercial and Litigation - Directors' & Officers Liability ( most recently in 2024))
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® Canada for his practice in Construction Law (since 2014), in Corporate and Commercial Litigation (since 2014), in Insurance Law (since 2012) and Personal Injury Litigation (since 2011).
  • Listed as a Litigation Star in the 13th edition of Benchmark Litigation Canada for Insurance (2024)

Appointments & Community Involvement

  • Halifax Board of Police Commissioners 2022-2025
  • Past Chair of the Canadian Red Cross Society 2010-2023
  • Past Board Director, McInnes Cooper


  • LL.B., Dalhousie University (1985)
  • B.A., Saint Mary's University (1981)

Bar Admissions

  • Nova Scotia (1986)


  • English