Geoffrey Trotter founded his own firm in 2013 after practicing for over three years as an associate lawyer with Vancouver boutique Gudmundseth Mickelson LLP litigation counsel where he gained experience in a wide variety of civil litigation matters, ranging from major commercial litigation trial and arbitration work (largely under the guidance of Howard A. Mickelson, Q.C.) to smaller plaintiff-side personal injury, fraud defence, and administrative law matters. Previously, Mr. Trotter articled with Bull Housser & Tupper LLP (now part of global firm Norton Rose Fulbright) and worked as a judicial law clerk with the BC Supreme Court in Victoria where he worked closely with five judges in discussing the legal issues arising in their cases, performing legal research, and assisting with the preparation of reasons for judgments.
Mr. Trotter's approach to legal disputes is goals-oriented and flexible. Where matters must proceed to litigation he represents his clients in a focused, thorough, and convincing manner. Mr. Trotter has represented his clients before all levels of court in British Columbia, at the Supreme Court of Canada, and before the BC Human Rights Tribunal. He is an alumnus of the Inns of Court Program, and is a 5-time returning adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law at Allard Hall. Mr. Trotter is also a trained mediator and was a member of the Civil Roster of MediateBC from 2006 - 2014.
Selected Matters: Acting for Parties
Trial Counsel to the Strata Corporation for 850 Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver sued by an owner whose tenant ran a meth lab which caused a fire. Owner's claim dismissed and Strata's Counterclaim allowed after 10 day trial, with the court confirming for the first time in BC that when damage is predominantly to a single strata lot, the owner, not the Strata, must pay the insurance deductible for the repairs (court also confirmed that $50,000 deductible applicable to drug-related damage reasonable given insurance market conditions). Trial judgment. This case received substantial news, legal, and industry coverage, e.g. Canadian Condominium Institute.
Through marshaling of "overwhelming [historical] evidence," successfully obtained the first reported contested order for a strata plan amendment under the error-correction jurisdiction of s. 14.12 of the Strata Property Regulation, preserving 75% of a townhouse complex's visitor parking from being lost to individual owners due to an error by the land surveyor who prepared the strata plan 27 years earlier. Reasons for Judgment (quote from para. 27; see also para. 14).
Co-counsel to the Delta Hospice Society in its Appeal of a BCSC decision ordering the forced admission of membership applicants who rejected the Constitutional purposes of the Society which excluded the provision of MAiD. Lead counsel at both appeal hearings. Successfully obtained leave to file a Notice of Constitutional Question on appeal regarding Freedom of Association and Freedom of Conscience rights of the society's existing members. BCCA factum. BCCA reply factum to respondents. BCCA reply factum to AGBC. BCCA Reasons for Judgment (see paras. 8, 10, 54, 59, 88-89, 98). Subsequently successfully obtained a court order, over objection from the petitioners, permitting society members to vote on whether to permit a fully electronic AGM due to the difficulty of holding an in-person AGM with thousands of members under covid-19 gathering restrictions (BCSC decision).
Successful on an application to dismiss a complex disability discrimination claim against five respondents at the Human Rights Tribunal on the basis that they had made a reasonable with-prejudice settlement offer. BCHRT decision.
Trial counsel to a Strata Corporation in a flood insurance deductible chargeback case in which the owner of the source unit accused the Strata Corporation of civil fraud and conspiracy. Obtained full recovery for the Strata Corporation and complete vindication of the strata council, contractors, and property manager. Costs penalty imposed on defendant for the making of the unsupported fraud allegations. Reasons for judgment. (see paras. 25-33, 43-46)
Co-counsel in a successful judicial review appeal in a free speech case where the Court of Appeal quashed Translink's refusal to sell my client political advertisement space on the side of its busses. Factum. Reasons for judgment.
Successful at the Civil Resolution Tribunal on behalf of a Strata Corporation caught in the middle of a dispute between two strata lot owners over who owned a particular parking stall. CRT decision.
Obtained summary dismissal of a commercial litigation case on the basis that the allegations against my client were res judicata, and successfully defended the dismissal on appeal. BCCA judgment.
Counsel to Bethany Paquette in her successful Human Rights Complaint against Amaruk Wilderness Corp. for religious discrimination and harassment in its rejection of her employment application because her resume disclosed that she was a graduate of Trinity Western University. Reasons for Decision. Media coverage: CBC 1, CBC 2, CBC 3; National Post Coverage. Legal industry coverage: Roper Greyell LLP, Carters.
After a hotly contested two-day application, obtained an order for the removal of a litigation guardian due to a conflict of interest. Reasons for Judgment.
Contracted by counsel of record to apply for, and successfully obtained, an order re-opening a completed trial due to discovery of new evidence (BCSC Vancouver S-104238; May 2019; oral reasons).
Following a 9-week arbitration in Montreal, obtained judgment in favour of my Mexican client against a Canadian company for interference with contractual relations (co-counsel with Howard A. Mickelson, Q.C.). [private arbitration – confidential award; 2012].
Defeated a defence plea of novation and obtained judgment on a $350,000 commercial bridge loan by way of summary trial, plus $261,000 in interest through notional severence of the portion of the interest rate which was unintentionally in excess of the legal maximum [Vancouver #VLC-S-S-137391; unreported; 2014].
Successfully obtained one of the first orders ever granted in BC for security for costs against a BC-resident individual plaintiff; $120,000 ordered posted (co-counsel with Howard A. Mickelson, Q.C.). [reasons for judgment]
Following attendance throughout a 9-week trial, obtained judgment for the Canadian equivalent of $820,000 US in a sale-of-business commission case (co-counsel with Howard A. Mickelson, Q.C.). [reasons for judgment]
Outside of work, Geoffrey and his wife are kept busy with their five children. Geoffrey has always enjoyed the outdoors, whether playing casual or competitive ultimate frisbee or soccer (or coaching his children's soccer teams), camping, or gardening. Geoffrey completed the Tofino Edge to Edge Marathon (back when it was a full marathon) in under 3 ½ hours. He commutes to the office by bicycle year-round.
Geoffrey has also been very involved in faith communities over the years, including University Christian Ministry during his undergraduate degree, the Christian Law Students Association during law school, and the Christian Legal Fellowship (CLF) since 2004, first a student (including two years as a board member) and then as a lawyer, including a number of years as member of the CLF Intervention Advisory Council. Geoffrey has been a long time member of his church located on the Westside, including as a director from 2010-2017.
Lead intervener counsel at the Court of Appeal in a challenge to a Family Law Actprotection order issued against a parent prohibiting him (on pain of arrest and criminal prosecution) from speaking to his own child about the medical risks of a controversial medical treatment. Selected by the BCCA panel as the only one of six interveners to make oral arguments on the constitutional issue at the BCCA hearing. BCCA factum. BCCA Reasons for Judgment (see paras. 171-179, 215, 218-224, especially 174-175 and 215).
Lead interveer counsel before the BC Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada in the landmark Carter v. Canada physician-assisted suicide case. [reasons granting intervention motion at BCCA; BCCA factum; BCCA appeal judgment - see particularly paras. 279-280 reflecting the thrust of my submissions; SCC factum; SCC Oral submissions (video: 427-437 minutes; text); SCC judgment; commentary on SCC judgment]. Succeeded in early 2019 in obtaining intervener status for two returning interveners as a coalition it in the sequelae Lamb v. Canada litigation which sought to expand eligibility beyond that permitted in Parliament's Bill C-14 response to Carter. The trial was adjourned in September 2019 and will now never occur as the federal government expanded the MAiD regime through bill C-7 in 2021.
Geoffrey was raised on a family farm and woodlot on Vancouver Island. He learned to think like a lawyer from his father who was a civil litigator, Queen's Counsel, and a life bencher. Geoffrey was enrolled in the French Immersion program for ten years, and excelled in chess, drama, and classical guitar. Geoffrey studied International Relations (Economy and Development) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) on full scholarship, graduating in 2004. Geoffrey then studied law at UBC, graduating in 2007 in the top 15% of his class, and earning multiple awards including the Panvini Law Scholarship and the Bruce H McColl Memorial Prize in Human Rights. A paper he authored was published in the Saskatchewan Law Review in August 2007 shortly after his graduation.