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Jasmine T. Akbarali

Toronto Office 130 Adelaide Street West, Suite 2400

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Meet Jasmine T. Akbarali

Appeals Lawyer

"I love appellate work. I love mining a record for a subtlety that might have gotten lost in the intensity of a trial. When I find the elusive thread that ties my argument together, that's my 'A-ha' moment. It never gets old."

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Professional Highlights

  • Jasmine regularly acts on appeals and provides confidential opinions and advice on a range of matters including public law, professional negligence, insurance law issues, health law issues, contractual duties and liabilities, lawyers’ professional and ethical duties, and securities litigation.

  • “Jasmine Akbarali was retained by my office on behalf of my clients as appeal counsel following a successful three week jury trial.  My clients included a plaintiff who was a minor at the time he was injured in a collision and sustained a catastrophic brain injury.  A reversal on appeal would have meant disaster for my clients, both financially and practically.  The factual matters were highly complex. The law was also complex. The choice of appeal counsel would be crucial. Ms. Akbarali approached the legal and factual issues with the highest level of scholarship, practicality and thoroughness. She was principally responsible for all matters relating to the appeal.  The excellence and incisiveness of her appellate materials resulted in a dismissal of the appeal by the court, but most significantly, a dismissal without the need for counsel to even be called upon to respond.  That was the great thing. Many lawyers are academically superior, as Ms. Akbarali assuredly is. However, as I became familiar with Ms. Akbarali on a personal level during this lengthy and intense appeal process, her other qualities became apparent. These were and are: compassion, creative thinking, flexibility, courage, her keen sense of humour and her ability to work extremely hard.  She is a superior thinker and lawyer.”  Ava Hillier, Hillier & Hillier Personal Injury Lawyers
  • “Jasmine Akbarali and her team at Lerners have been outstanding not only in their superb litigation skills and lawyering, but the deep commitment they have shown consistently through the years to pro bono work - to give back, to advance the public good, and to see that justice is delivered for all clients.  We are fortunate to have had Lerners handle some of our most complex civil liberties cases including R. v. Summers and Amnesty  International Canada and British Columbia Civil Liberties Association v. Chief of the Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces, Minister of National Defence and Attorney General of Canada.”  Sukanya Pillay, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Education Trust

At the Supreme Court of Canada

  • Hartle v. Khadr, 2014 CanLII 74397 (SCC)
    Jasmine was lead counsel for the intervener, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.  This appeal dealt with the interpretation of Omar Khadr’s American sentence for the purposes of implementing it domestically.
  • R. v. Summers, 2014 S.C.C. 26
    This appeal considered amendments to legislation that governs the amount of sentencing credit that is available to an offender who has spent time in pre-sentence custody.  As lead counsel for the intervener, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Jasmine argued that the Court should adopt an interpretation that aligns with Charter values, including the right to be presumed innocent and the principles of proportionality and parity in sentencing.
    To see Jasmine's oral argument at the Supreme Court of Canada on this appeal, follow this link and go to the 226:40 mark of the hearing.
    http://scc-csc-gc.insinc.com/en/clip.php?url=c/486/1938/201401230501wv150en,001Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1
  • Honda Canada Inc. v. Keays (2008), 66 C.C.E.L. (3d) 159 (S.C.C.)
    In this seminal decision, the Supreme Court of Canada redefined the approach to aggravated and punitive damages in wrongful dismissal cases.  It also explored the boundaries of accommodation of disabled employees and considered how much medical information an employer may require.  Jasmine was part of the Lerners team that successfully overturned the lower courts’ decisions in this case.  She was the principal author of the written argument.
  • Kerr v. Danier Leather, (2007) 286 D.L.R. (4th) 601 (S.C.C.)
    This was the first class action for prospectus misrepresentation in Canada.  Jasmine was part of the Lerners team that took this case through trial and two levels of appeal.  The Supreme Court of Canada was called on to determine the scope of the statutory cause of action for misrepresentation in a prospectus, and whether courts should defer to management’s judgment when assessing whether management has met its regulatory obligations under the Securities Act (Ontario).
  • Leave applications – Jasmine frequently acts as counsel on applications for leave to appeal, for both applicants and respondents.  She also regularly consults with and advises counsel on their leave applications.

At the Federal Court of Appeal

  • Minister of Citizenship and Immigration v. Ishaq, 2015 FCA 151
    Jasmine was counsel to LEAF in its bid to intervene in this case, which dealt with whether a woman was entitled to wear her niqab at her citizenship swearing-in ceremony.
  • Amnesty International Canada and British Columbia Civil Liberties Association v. Chief of the Defence Staff for the Canadian Forces, Minister of National Defence and Attorney General of Canada, 2008 FCA 401 (Fed. C.A.)
    In this appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal considered whether the Charter of Rights and Freedoms would apply to the detention of non-Canadians by Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, or to the transfer of those individuals to Afghan authorities, particularly where torture is reasonably anticipated.

At the Court of Appeal

  • Carter v. Intact Insurance Company (2016) (under reserve)
    This appeal dealt with the interpretation of replacement cost coverage provisions in an insurance policy.
  • Hollowcore Incorporated et al v. Visocchi et al (2016) (under reserve)
    An appeal, cross-appeal and third party appeal covered issues including an engineer’s professional liability, the trial judge’s damages assessment, and the proper exchange rate to use to convert foreign currency obligations.
  • 495793 Ontario Ltd. v. Barclay (2016) (under reserve)
    This appeal dealt with claims of negligent investigation, proper use of expert evidence, and damages, including a loss of chance analysis.
  • Economical Mutual Insurance Company v. Caughy, 2016 ONCA 226
    This appeal dealt with the “purpose test” to determine whether an insured suffered an accident under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.
  • Law Society of Upper Canada v. Groia (2015) (CA) (under reserve)
    This case dealt with the regulation of “civility” of lawyers’ conduct in court, and engages issues including freedom of expression and the duty of commitment to a client’s cause.
  • Polera v. Wade 2015 ONCA 895
    This appeal dealt with whether a partial summary judgment should be set aside due to procedural unfairness, reversal of the burden of proof and evidentiary issues, and whether the order granted advanced the litigation in accordance with the purpose of summary judgment.
  • Spence v. BMO Trust Company, 2015 ONCA 196
    This appeal considered whether a will may be set aside as against public policy when it is motivated by a clearly racist principle.
  • Scalia v. Scalia, 2015 ONCA 492
    This appeal dealt with severance of jointly owned property, obligations of joint property owners to one another and support.
  • Wallace v. Crate’s Marine Sales Ltd., 2014 ONCA 671
    This appeal dealt with dismissal of an action for delay.
  • Sant v. Sekhon, 2014 ONCA 623
    This appeal dealt with the standard of care of a driver entering an intersection on a green light to be alert to drivers with a red light who may disobey the traffic signal.
  • Phillion v. Attorney General of Ontario et. al., 2013 ONSC 2426; 2014 ONCA 1604
    This case involved a motion to stay an action and a subsequent appeal therefrom.  The action sought damages for malicious prosecution and other causes of action related to a murder conviction which was quashed over 40 years after the fact.
  • Bondy v. London (City), 2014 ONCA 219
    This appeal dealt with issues of occupier’s liability and municipal liability for a slip and fall on an icy boulevard.
  • Upchurch v. Oshawa (City), 2014 ONCA 425
    This appeal dealt with allegations of negligence against a municipality in the context of its planning department and requirements for permits for construction
  • Retained on an appeal (2013) of a defamation action, considering the sufficiency of the trial judge’s charge to the jury.
  • Smith Estate v. Rothstein, 2011 ONCA 491
    This appeal dealt with the availability of partial probate, that is, admitting different testamentary instruments to probate at different times.
  • Guerrero v. Fukuda, 2010 ONCA 502
    This appeal dealt with a threshold motion and a jury’s verdict of damages for past loss of income.
  • King Line Investments Inc. v. 973976 Ontario Ltd., 2010 ONCA 345
    This appeal dealt with the proper interpretation of an agreement.
  • Close v. Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company, 2009 ONCA 574
    This appeal dealt with a claim for income replacement benefits and whether the claim was statute barred.  It also dealt with whether a trial judge could decline to award post-judgment interest under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.
  • King v. Drabinsky and Gottlieb, (2008) 91 O.R. (3d) 616 (Ont. C.A.); 2009 CanLII 603 (S.C.C.)
    This appeal considered whether a New York judgment should be enforced in Ontario where the defendants alleged they could not properly defend the New York action because they had invoked their Fifth Amendment rights not to incriminate themselves.  After succeeding on the appeal, Lerners succeeded in resisting the defendants’ application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
  • Hollinger Inc. v. The Ravelston Corporation Limited (2008), 89 O.R. (3d) 721 (Ont. C.A.)
    This appeal considered the validity of a protective order, which sealed court materials from the public.
  • Sherman v. Orenstein & Partners (2005), 11 B.L.R. (4th) 233 (Ont. C.A.)
    This appeal dealt with the standard of care required of chartered accountants in performing a review engagement.
  • R. v. Harding, (2001) 57 O.R. (3rd) 333 (Ont. C.A.)
    This appeal dealt with the application of constitutional principles in the context of the criminal offence of wilful promotion of hatred, and the interpretation of the “good faith” defence.
  • Jasmine regularly consults with and advises counsel on their appeals
  • Jasmine frequently acts as counsel on motions for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal

At the Divisional Court

  • Morassut v. Jaczynski, 2015 ONSC 502
    In this appeal, Lerners successfully defended the largest dependant’s relief award ever reported in Ontario and an award of full indemnity costs in favour of their client. Leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal was refused.
  • Law Society of Upper Canada v. Groia, 2015 ONSC 686
    This appeal involved issues of free expression and judicial independence in the context of disciplinary proceedings against a lawyer.

At the Law Society of Upper Canada

  • Law Society of Upper Canada v. Groia, 2013 ONLSAP 41
    This appeal involved disciplinary proceedings against a lawyer accused of incivility and engages issues of independence of the bar, independence of the judiciary, free expression of lawyers and publication bans.  A further appeal to the Divisional Court is pending.

  • Samara Everyday Political Citizen Award, July, 2015
  • Recognized as a "Local Litigation Star" in 2014 and 2015 Benchmark Litigation Ranking - Canada Edition
  • Recognized as a "Litigation Lawyer to Watch" by Lexpert, 2010
  • Lexpert's "Rising Star" Award honouring Canada's Leading Lawyers Under 40, 2009
  • South Asian Bar Association of Toronto Award for Female Practitioner of the Year, 2009
  • Gold medallist, University of Windsor Faculty of Law, 1995

  • Speaker, 12th Annual Conference on Crown Liability, Osgoode Professional Development, “Ethics and Professionalism in Litigation Involving the Crown”, February 25, 2016
  • Mentor, “Building Trusted Client Relationships”, The Advocates’ Society Mentoring Dinner Series, February 9, 2016
  • Moderator, "Fast and Slow Thinking: Strategies and Tools to Enhance Decision Making", Osgoode Professional Development Centre, December 3, 2015
  • Moderator, “The Impossible Citizen:  A Conversation on Race, Gender and Democracy”, organized by Women’s Legal Education Action Fund, Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law and Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, November 18, 2015 (view webcast)
  • Faculty, The 18th Annual Course on Written Advocacy, a joint program of Osgoode Professional Development and The Advocates’ Society, October 16-17, 2015
  • Speaker, “Write Your Success”, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, September 24, 2015
  • Speaker and author, 11th Annual Conference on Crown Liability, Osgoode Professional Development, paper entitled “Inherent Jurisdiction: What is it, how far does it go?”, February 27, 2015
  • Chair, “Issue Identification and Analysis for Junior Lawyers”, Law Society of Upper Canada, January 20, 2015
  • Workshop Co-Leader, Osgoode Professional Development, “Fast and Slow Thinking: Strategies and Tools to Enhance Decision Making”, December 2, 2014
  • ‘Victim-blaming couched as legitimate judicial inquiry’, co-authored with Gillian Hnatiw, Canadian Lawyer Magazine, November 17, 2014
  • Faculty, The 18th Annual Course on Written Advocacy, a joint program of Osgoode Professional Development and The Advocates’ Society, October 17-18, 2014
  • The Senate Reference: Reform is not for the faint of heart, The National Magazine, April 28, 2014 (Read online)
  • Speaker and Author, “Appeals - You need to know this!”, Law Society of Upper Canada, Solo and Small Firm Conference, June 13, 2014
  • Speaker and Co-Author, “Strategic and Ethical Issues on Appeal”, Law Society of Upper Canada, Civil Appeals Issues, Strategies and Best Practices, June 18, 2014
  • Speaker, Toronto Lawyers Association, "Pleadings Tips and Traps", February 11, 2014
  • Mentor, “Practice Makes Perfect”, The Advocates’ Society Mentoring Dinner Series, November 5, 2013
  • Faculty, The 17th Annual Course on Written Advocacy, a joint program of Osgoode Professional Development and The Advocates’ Society, October 25 & 26, 2013
  • "Limitation periods curb delay - not rights - in Charter claims", co-authored with Stuart Zacharias, The Lawyers Weekly, September 3, 2010 (Read online)
  • "Causation: Pick your theory please!", The Lawyers Weekly, May 28, 2010 (Read online)
  • Speaker, "Effective Legal Writing, Toronto Lawyers' Association Nutshell Program, May 10, 2010
  • "Protecting privilege: how safe are your e-mails?", The Lawyers Weekly, January 29, 2010 (Read online)
  • "Rebels With a Cause", Lexpert Magazine cover story, April, 2009
  • "Charter damages: do rights require remedies?", The Lawyers Weekly, April 17, 2009
  • "The Future of Compensatory, Aggravated and Punitive Damages Post-Honda"; co-authored with Earl A. Cherniak, Q.C. and Roslynn (Rosie) Kogan, Law Society of Upper Canada, 9th Annual Employment Law Summit, October 30, 2008
  • Speaker, The Human Rights Impact of Honda v. Keays, Ontario Bar Association, Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights/Labour and Employment Law Program, September 10, 2008
  • "How to go for broke - without going broke - on appeal", co-authored with Cynthia Kuehl, The Lawyers Weekly, August 28, 2008
  • The Danier Leather Class Action Case, On-line discussion at ReportonBusiness.com
  • Co-author of "Commercial Free Speech and Tobacco: A Case Study", The Canadian Institute, June 3, 1997

  • The Advocates' Society
  • Toronto Lawyers' Association
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • South Asian Bar Association
  • Canadian Civil Liberties Association

  • Lerners LLP (1999 to present)
  • Past Co-Chair, Lerners' Appellate Advocacy Group
  • Pro bono screener, Pro Bono Law Ontario, Supreme Court of Canada project
  • Associate lawyer in an international full service law firm (1997-1999)
  • Clerk to the Honourable Mr. Justice J. C. Major, Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada (1995-1996)

  • Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshop - Osgoode Hall Law School (1998)
  • Admitted to Ontario Bar (1997)
  • Bachelor of Laws, University of Windsor (1995)
  • Suomi (Finnish) I & II Certificates, University of Helsinki, (1991)
  • Bachelor of Arts (French, Psychology), McMaster University (1991)

  • Vice President, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
  • Past Director and Vice-Chair, George Hull Centre for Children and Families (a full-service children's mental health centre in Toronto)
  • Volunteer, Kingsway College School, various capacities including annual lip sync performance volunteer
  • Contributing author to "The Lucky Ones: Our Stories of Adopting Children from China", by Ann Rauhala (Editor), ECW Press, 2008 (proceeds to charities supporting orphanages in China)
  • Chair, The Children's Bridge Foundation Charity Cooking Demonstration Event with Susur Lee
  • Volunteer campaigner and fundraiser for candidates for political office
  • Enjoys travel, yoga and spending time with her four children

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