Justin’s practice focuses on administrative law, media/defamation law and commercial litigation.

In his administrative law practice, Justin represents clients in judicial reviews before the Divisional Court, as well as in hearings before tribunals, including the Ontario Securities Commission, sports law tribunals, academic discipline tribunals at Ontario universities and human rights tribunals.   He also acts as independent legal counsel to a number of regulators.

Justin has a particular interest in how constitutional rights (including Indigenous rights) are implicated in tribunal proceedings and government decision-making.  He has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in several cases raising this very issue, including most recently as co-counsel for the successful appellants in Clyde River v. PGS et al.

Justin acts for both plaintiffs and defendants in defamation cases, as well as in related proceedings for extraordinary relief, including Norwich Pharmacal orders, injunctions and de-indexing/“take-down” orders.  Justin also regularly acts for media parties in seeking access to court documents, as well as resisting publication bans and production orders.

In his commercial law practice, Justin frequently acts in contract disputes, both at first instance and on appeal, and has published a number of articles relating to contract law.  He has also taught courses on contract law and professional discipline at Wilfrid Laurier University’s business school, where he graduated with a BBA in 2006 (gold medalist).

Justin has developed a particular expertise in the area of civil forfeiture proceedings.  In 2015, he was appointed by the Court to serve as amicus curiae in a case where the Crown was attempting to seize a sailboat.  Since then, he has authored a primer on the Civil Remedies Act, and has been quoted on the subject in the Toronto StarLaw Times and CBA’s The National.

Justin holds a J.D. from the University of Toronto, where he received several academic awards.  In 2009-2010, he served as law clerk to the Hon. Justices Laskin, Goudge and MacFarland of the Ontario Court of Appeal.  He teaches administrative law, serves as the co-editor of the Stockwoods Administrative and Regulatory Law Case Review, and writes frequently on legal topics in both industry and mainstream publications.

Representative Work
  • Hamlet of Clyde River et al. v. Petroleum Geo-Services Inc. et al., 2017 SCC 40.  Successfully represented the Inuit appellants in this case dealing with the Crown’s constitutional duty to consult Aboriginal peoples in the context of a National Energy Board authorization process for seismic testing.  In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed that the NEB’s authorization should be quashed due to lack of adequate consultation.
  • Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc., 2017 SCC 34.  Lead counsel to a civil liberties organization in this groundbreaking decision, where the Supreme Court held that Canadian courts may order internet search engines to “de-index” certain websites globally. 
  • Graff v. New Democratic Party, 2017 ONSC 3578.  Represented the applicant in this judicial review of a political party’s decision not to allow him to run in its leadership race.  In one of the first decisions of its kind in Canada, the Court held that the leadership decisions of political parties are subject to judicial review, both for procedural fairness and on substantive grounds. 
  • R. v. Vice Media Canada Inc., 2017 ONCA 231.  Lead counsel to a coalition of media parties and free expression advocacy groups in this appeal concerning whether to uphold a production order for records of a journalist’s text messages with a source.  (The production order was upheld and the appellants are currently seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.)
  • Ktunaxa Nation Council et al. v. Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations et al. (SCC File No. 36664; decision pending).  Represented a group of interveners from different faiths in this appeal, which dealt with whether freedom of religion under s. 2(a) of the Charter protects aboriginal spiritual rights that depend on certain land remaining free from development and, if so, how those interests are to be weighed and balanced by administrative decision-makers when considering development projects.
  • Canada (Attorney General) v. Chambre des notaires du Québec, 2016 SCC 20Canada (Attorney General) v. Federation of Law Societies of Canada, [2015] 1 S.C.R. 401.  Represented the Criminal Lawyers’ Association in these appeals, arguing that various provisions giving the government access to information and documents potentially subject to solicitor-client privilege were unconstitutional.  In both cases, the Court’s reasoning was consistent with the positions advanced by the CLA.
  • Williams v. Toronto (City), 2016 ONSC 42, aff’d 2016 ONCA 666.  Acted for Parkdale tenants in this class action against the City of Toronto for a failure to send statutorily-required rent reduction notices, and successfully obtained summary judgment on the issues of whether the City owed class members a (novel) duty of care, and whether the City breached the standard of care.
  • First Nations Child and Family Caring Society v. Attorney General of Canada, 2016 CHRT 2.  Represented Amnesty International as an interested party in this groundbreaking human rights case, where the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the government’s funding scheme for First Nations children living on reserves amounted to discrimination.
  • Gixtaala Nation v. Canada, 2016 FCA 187.  Acted for the intervener Amnesty International in this proceeding involving a series of challenges to the Northern Gateway pipeline project, where the Court of Appeal concluded that the Governor-in-Council’s approval of the project must be quashed due to lack of adequate consultation with affected Aboriginal peoples.
  • Frank v. Canada, 2015 ONCA 356.  Represented the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association in this appeal challenging the constitutionality of provisions limiting the Charter right to vote for non-resident Canadians.
  • Ontario (Attorney General) v. Kittiwake Sailboat, 2015 ONSC 6106.  Appointed amicus curiae in this Civil Remedies Act proceeding, where the arguments made by amicus against forfeiture were accepted by the Court.  In his decision, Corbett J. noted that Mr. Safayeni’s “excellent submissions were of great assistance to the court.”
  • Siskinds LLP v. CIBC, 2014 ONSC 3211, aff’d 2015 ONCA 265.  Obtained summary judgment based on interpretation of a complex commercial contract, and successfully resisted an appeal that raised issues relating to the law of contractual interpretation.
  • Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, [2014] 2 S.C.R. 257.  Lead counsel for a  coalition of interveners arguing that the test for aboriginal title must be consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and international law.
  • R. v. Cake, 2014 ONCJ 126, aff’d 2014 ONSC 3413.  Acted on behalf of two media organizations in successfully resisting efforts by the Crown and defence counsel to have certain evidence and information subject to a publication ban.
  • 1654776 Ontario v. Stewart and The Globe and Mail, 2012 ONSC 1991, aff’d 2013 ONCA 184, leave to appeal to SCC dismissed.  Resisted an application for a Norwich Pharmacal order that would have required the Globe to reveal confidential sources so that the plaintiff could add them as defendants to its Securities Act class action.
  • Canada (Human Rights Commission) v. Canada (Attorney General), 2012 FC 445, aff’d 2013 FCA 75.  Acted for the intervener Amnesty International and successfully argued on judicial review (upheld on appeal) that the tribunal adopted an unreasonably narrow interpretation of s. 5 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
  • “Unconstitutional Limits on the Free Speech Rights of Sexual Assault Complainants”, The Advocates’ Journal, Vol. 35, No. 3;  Winter 2016
  • “The role of media in our democracy deserves special protection” (co-author with Andrea Gonsalves), Globe and Mail (November 8, 2016)
  • “Ban Russian athletes from Rio Olympics” (co-author with Luisa Ritacca), Toronto Star (July 24, 2016)
  • “A Primer on Civil Forfeiture Under Ontario’s Civil Remedies Act”, For the Defence Vol. 37, No. 1 (May 2016)
  • “Journalist’s legal loss to RCMP sets dangerous precedent” (co-author with Andrea Gonsalves), Toronto Star (April 5, 2016)
  • MacDonald v. Chicago Title Insurance Company of Canada and the Resurrection of Correctness Review in Contractual Interpretation Appeals”, Toronto Law Journal (February 2016)
  • “Injunctive Relief and the Departing Employee” (co-author with Paul Le Vay and Owen Rees), LSUC Special Lectures 2012 – Employment Law and the New Workplace in the Social Media Age (Irwin Law: 2012)
  • “Prematurity and Adequate Alternative Remedies in the Post-Dunsmuir Era” (co-author with Andrea Gonsalves), presented at the Osgoode Professional Development Administrative Law conference (2012)
  • “Recent Developments of Importance:  Corporate-Commercial Litigation” (co-author with Paul Le Vay and Brendan Van Niejenhuis), published in LEXPERT’s Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada (2012)
Teaching & Speaking Engagements
  • Instructor, Osgoode Hall Law School’s Professional LLM program, teaching Canadian Administrative Law (2015 to present)
  • Speaker, Speaking with the Media About Your Case and Others, Kings Law Chambers’ “Ethics Primer” (December 15, 2016)
  • Speaker, University of Ottawa and Amnesty International’s webinar discussion about the Clyde River and Chippewas of the Thames First Nation Supreme Court cases (December 1, 2016)
  • Speaker, Ontario Bar Association’s “Legal and Practical Avenues for Unmasking Unidentified Internet Posters” (November 10, 2016)
  • Speaker, Practical Commercial Law Perspectives on Summary Judgment Motions, Ontario Bar Association’s “Nuts of Bolts of the Summary Judgment Motion” (November 10, 2016)
  • Speaker, Non-Resident Voting at the Supreme Court of Canada, University of Ottawa Public Law Group’s “Diaspora Democracy:  Ex-Patriate Voting in Canada and Abroad” (October 19, 2016)
  • Adjunct Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University’s School of Business and Economics, teaching the law of professional liability, contracts and directors’ duties (2011 to present)

  • Member, The Advocates’ Society
  • Member, Canadian Media Lawyers Association
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association
  • Member, Ontario Bar Association
  • Member, Criminal Lawyers' Association
  • Precedent Award winner (2017)
  • Named as one of Wilfrid Laurier University’s “Leaders of Tomorrow” (2012)
  • Macdonald Prize in Public International Law (2009)
  • Alan Borovoy Prize for Civil Liberties (2009)
  • Borden Ladner Gervais LLP Professional Excellence Award (2007)
  • McCarthy Tétrault Prize for Academic Excellence in first year (2007)
  • Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Gold Medal (2006)
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