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About Michael

Michael is a Partner in our St. John’s office whose practice is focused on real property law, municipal law and related litigation/dispute resolution. He has a keen interest in dispute resolution by negotiation or litigation.

Michael has resolved cases concerning:

  • Expropriation, including compensation claims regarding the market value of land taken, injurious affection of remaining land and disturbance damages as well as constructive and disguised expropriation claims;
  • Municipal law, particularly assessment/taxation and permit/development/zoning/non-conforming land use issues; and
  • Public law, including Judicial Review of Administrative actions (e.g. a Governmental failure to order an Environmental Impact Statement concerning a salmon farm development).

Michael has been a part of precedent setting cases in all of the forgoing areas of law.

While Michael does act for Government Institutions and Municipalities from time to time, Michael’s clients are most often ordinary property owners who have land development/use issues or who have a property or business assessment/taxation issue or who have an expropriation compensation claim to prosecute for maximum return.

A good example of Michael’s legal work is a series of cases for the Lynch Family against the City of St. John’s (the “City”). The City zoned the Lynches land as Watershed (as a part of the City’s water supply) and the City refused to let the Lynches make any reasonable use whatsoever of their land. Michael succeeded in obtaining Rulings from the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal (leave to appeal refused by the Supreme Court of Canada) stating that the Lynch’s land had been constructively expropriated, thereby entitling the Lynches to compensation from the City concerning the market value of their land as well as other expropriation compensation, and stating that the City had to pay all of the Lynch’s reasonable professional expenses.

Michael was named Queen’s Counsel in April 2010. Michael is a Past President of the Canadian Property Tax Association; a member of the Ontario Expropriation Association; and a Past Chair of the St. John’s Port Authority.

Education

  • LL.B., Queen's University (1982)
  • B.A. (Hons.), Queen's University (1979)

Bar Admissions

  • Newfoundland & Labrador (1983)

Languages

  • English