We handle legal matters of special concern to the aviation community across Canada and internationally. Our worldwide client base includes:
- Domestic and international airlines;
- Fixed and rotary wing charter operators;
- Maintenance facilities;
- Private pilots;
- Flight schools; and
- The insurers for each of these entities.
Aircraft Accident/Incident Litigation
We represent a wide spectrum of clients in claims arising from aircraft accidents and incidents. With the assistance of appropriate experts we assess liability issues in the context of human factors, engineering, structures, maintenance procedures, pilot proficiency and other factors. We have experience in handling catastrophic losses, and in resolving single and multiple wrongful death claims, class actions and personal injury actions.
Product Liability Claims
We have successfully engaged in engine and air-frame products liability claims on behalf of underwriters against American, international and Canadian aircraft and component parts manufacturers. We maintain relationships with a variety of aviation consultants and experts necessary to support such litigation.
Airline Claims Handling
On instructions from either an airline or its insurers we provide a complete claims handling service for both passenger and cargo claims. Our familiarity with airline practices and procedures, tariffs, terms and conditions of carriage and safety regulations enables us to provide an initial response to claims, make recommendations with respect to settlement and, if necessary, provide a full defence in subsequent litigation.
Emergency Response Preparedness
We assist airlines and charter operators in developing appropriate emergency response preparedness plans and systems to ensure operational continuity and effective conduct in the event of a serious incident occurring.
Our knowledge of the aviation business makes us effective in pursuing or defending and resolving claims arising out of aircraft and equipment purchase agreements, sale and lease agreements, accounts collection and enforcement of property rights.
Regulatory and Administrative Proceedings
We regularly make representations to or appear before regulatory and administrative authorities, including:
- Transport Canada;
- The Canadian Transportation Agency;
- The Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada;
- The Transportation Safety Board of Canada;
- The Office of the Coroner; and
- The Medical Review Board.
We are experienced in registering aircraft within British Columbia for personal property security purposes and in drafting, negotiating and reviewing transportation-related contracts and documents including:
- Documents of carriage;
- Airport facility lease agreements;
- Maintenance and airport handling agreements;
- Aircraft and equipment purchases; and
- Sale and lease agreements and cargo sales agreements.
We advise on vehicle, aircraft and operator licensing, immigration matters for offshore clients and general corporate and environmental law matters.
Our sensitivity to the aviation workplace of both large airlines and small rotary wing operators allows us to advise our clients on employment law matters including the Employment Standards Act, the Workers Compensation Act, the Human Rights Act, the Canada Labour Code and other employement-related legislation.
We also draft and interpret employment contracts, defend wrongful dismissal actions and appear before the federal and provincial labour authorities, human rights councils and the courts.
We advise our aviation clients on the legal aspects of carrying, storing and handling hazardous materials, provide representation before the regulatory authorities concerned with the environmental impact of aviation operations and defend clients charged with environmental offences. We are experienced in defending and resolving chemical drift cases.
Related Transportation Services – Maritime, Rail, Trucking
Several other members of our firm complement our aviation practice with experience in other aspects of transportation law including maritime, rail and trucking and freight forwarding. Clients requiring legal assistance involving intermodal transport or with any of these specific industries can receive appropriate referrals through our aviation group.
For current news and commentary from our lawyers, visit our Aviation law Blog.
Members of our Aviation Practice are actively involved in:
- The British Columbia Aviation Council;
- The Air Transportation Association of Canada;
- The Aviation Insurance Association;
- The Helicopter Association of Canada;
- Canadian Owners and Pilots Association;
- The Northern Air Transport Association;
- American Bar Association, Forum on Air and Space Law;
- International Air Transport Association;
- Canadian Bar Association – National and Provincial Sections; and
- The British Columbia Float Plane Operators Association.
Alexander Holburn is a proud supporter of Hope Air. Founded in 1986, Hope Air has helped nearly 70,000 sick Canadians from financially disadvantaged backgrounds access the healthcare they need by providing free flights to major healthcare centres. The program helps people who cannot afford the cost of travel to access specialized medical expertise or technologies.
We have been a Hope Air sponsor since 2009, during which time we have supported the program by sponsoring flights, gala events and other initiatives. We are proud to be involved with this worthy cause, which has such a meaningful impact on the lives of those in need. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Hope Air in the years to come.
The Ernie Alexander Memorial Aviation Scholarship
In memory of the late Ernie Alexander, Q.C. and for his contributions to aviation in British Columbia, we are pleased to offer a $2,000 scholarship in his name. One of the founding partners of Alexander Holburn, Ernie was a talented trial lawyer, legendary pilot and valued educator who had a reputation as a charming individual. This award will be presented to an Aviation or Aerospace student who demonstrates achievement in his or her community and excels academically. To view a full list of our past recipients click here.