Daniel H Coles
Dan is an trial lawyer who regularly appears before the courts and administrative tribunals of British Columbia. He has experience in the Supreme Court of Canada. 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. More recently he has been involved with fundraising efforts for Cops for Cancer. 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.
- 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”.
Media & Defamation Litigation
- Fairgrieve v British Columbia Review Board, 2022 BCSC 1882
Acted on behalf of Global News to obtain access, for publication purposes, to the BC Review Board’s written reasons confirming why a person accused of first-degree murder was not fit to strand trial.
- Simpson v Rebel News Network Ltd., 2022 BCSC 1160
On behalf of Rebel News obtained the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit pursuant to the Protection of Public Participation Act (Anti-SLAPP legislation).
- United States v Meng, 2021 BCSC 1253
Acted on behalf of a consortium of national and international news agencies to successfully oppose Ms. Meng’s application for a publication ban over the contents of certain banking documents.
- Galloway v A.B, 2019 BCSC 1417 affirmed 2020 BCCA 106
On behalf of the plaintiff, acting within the confines of the Public Participation Act (Anti-SLAPP legislation), obtained an order that defendants who were cross-examined on their affidavits provide certain additional documents and information.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.\
- 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.
- Vancouver Fraser Port Authority v Doe, 2020 BCSC 244
Obtained an injunction for the Port of Vancouver against individuals blockading access to Port lands.
- 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.
- 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.
- Khan v School District No. 39, 2021 BCSC 49
Acted successfully for a retired school teacher in a 5 week trial concerning historic allegations of assault and battery. Obtained an order for “double costs” against the unsuccessful plaintiff on account of the plaintiff’s refusal to accept a reasonable offer of settlement.