Daniel H Coles
Dan is an experienced trial lawyer who regularly appears before the courts and administrative tribunals of British Columbia. He acts for clients from a diverse range of fields and industries with an emphasis on construction litigation, media and defamation law, and assisting licensees in the hospitality sector.
Dan is an advocate for freedom of the press and other media. He regularly works with journalists and national and international news organizations to obtain access to court exhibits and oppose publication bans, sealing orders, and in camera court proceedings.
Dan’s construction practice involves acting for owners and developers to resolve disputes under the Builders Lien Act and prosecuting their claims for delayed and deficient work. He also has experience acting for trades and material suppliers, as well as insurers.
He is actively involved in British Columbia’s dynamic hospitality and liquor manufacturing industries. He writes an award-winning blog Alcohol & Advocacy, and advises clients on British Columbia’s liquor laws and regulations.
He is also a member of the Law Society of Yukon, and has experience in the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal acting on behalf of tribunals in judicial review proceedings.
Dan is the host of the podcast Under Reserve, a show about law and law enforcement.
In the community Dan has been active with Covenant House, the Vancouver Street Soccer League and the Vancouver Bar Association. He grew up in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
- Called to the Bar of the Yukon Territory, 2019
- Called to the British Columbia Bar, 2012
- Juris Doctor, Dalhousie University, 2011
- Bachelor of Arts (Hons.), St. Francis Xavier University, 2008
- Member, Canadian Media Lawyers Association/AdIDEM
- Former Board Member, Vancouver Bar Association
- Member, International Wine Law Association
Canadian Law Blog Awards 2016 - Finalist Best Practitioner Blog Alcohol & Advocacy
Canadian Law Blog Awards 2015 – Best Practitioner Blog Alcohol & Advocacy
- NV Electrical Inc. v Meola, 2022 BCSC 666
Acted for the defendant owner/developer. The plaintiff, an unpaid trade, failed to perfect its claim of lien, and attempted to circumvent the consequences of that failure by amending its notice of civil claim to plead a constructive trust and file a related CPL over the lands. Obtained an order striking the constructive trust claim and related CPL. The court confirmed that in the construction industry plaintiff’s claims are generally resolved through contract law or through the Builders Lien Act.
- Belpacific Excavating & Shoring Limited Partnership v Crown and Mountain Creations Ltd., 2022 BCSC 412
Acted for an owner/developer in a four week trial. By way of set-off reduced the plaintiff contractor’s claim for unpaid accounts by half. Plaintiff contractor sought “double” or “uplift” trial costs. Successfully argued that plaintiff contractor was not entitled to any costs.
- Conwest Contracting Ltd. v Crown and Mountain Creations Ltd., 2021 BCSC 2116
Acted for an owner/developer in a four week trial. Obtained a $300,000 set-off against a contractor’s claim for unpaid work on the project, reducing its judgment by half.
- Berlan Construction Inc. v Onni Development (Ioco Road) Corporation, 2018 BCSC 1228
Obtained a $550,000 judgment for a developer against a trade on account of delayed and deficient work.
- Iberdrola Energy Projects Canada Corporation v. Factory Sales & Engineering Inc. d.b.a. FSE Energy, 2018 BCCA 272
Successfully opposed an appeal relating to the proper calculation of holdback monies under the Builders Lien Act where the general contractor attempted to characterize certain payments as “loans”.
- Fets Fine Foods Ltd. (Fets Whisky Kitchen) v British Columbia (Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch), 2022 BCSC 410
Acted for licensee Fets Whisky Kitchen. In 2018 liquor inspectors raided Fets’ premises and seized 242 bottles of rare Scotch whisky. The Liquor Branch refused to provide Fets with meaningful disclosure of documents related to its planning of the raid. Obtained an order confirming that the Liquor Branch’s refusal to produce the demanded documents was a breach of procedural fairness. The underlying enforcement decision was set aside and the court ordered the matter remitted for rehearing following the Branch’s production of the withheld documents.
Media & Defamation Litigation
- Canada (National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls) v. Canada (Attorney General), 2019 FC 741
Successfully opposed the Attorney General of Canada’s request to have portions of hearing held in camera.
- Galloway v A.B, 2019 BCSC 1417 affirmed 2020 BCCA 106
In what was the first court application made under the new Protection of Public Participation Act, successfully obtained an order for the plaintiff in a defamation action that required the parties who were previously cross-examined on their affidavits to provide additional documents and information.
- Postmedia Network Inc. v. Her Majesty the Queen, 2019 BCPC 267
Successfully varied certain sealing orders over RCMP production orders and ITOs related to the Victoria legislature spending scandal.
- United States v Meng, 2020 BCSC 43
Acted (unsuccessfully) on behalf of a consortium of national and international news agencies to record and broadcast the extradition hearing of Ms. Meng.
- R. v Arfmann, 2020 BCSC 56
On behalf of a consortium of news agencies, obtained access to a video recording and police radio transcript exhibited in a first degree murder trial.
- Sutherland v. Collett (Estate), 2017 YKSC 36
On behalf of a widow, obtained an order entitling her to the proceeds of her late husband’s RRSP.
- Vancouver Fraser Port Authority v Doe, 2020 BCSC 244
Obtained an injunction for the Port of Vancouver against individuals blockading access to Port lands.
- Vancouver Fraser Port Authority v Brett, 2020 BCSC 876
Obtained an injunction for the Port of Vancouver enjoining unlawful trespass and occupation of federal lands.
Historic Abuse Allegations
- Khan v School District No. 39, 2021 BCSC 49
Successfully defended a retired school teacher, in a 5 week trial, from allegations that she assaulted and battered a student in the 1980s.