Peter R. Senkpiel

Partner

E: psenkpiel@nst.ca
T: 778.945.1476

Peter R. Senkpiel is a leading barrister in British Columbia with a broad commercial litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and advisory practice. Peter has extensive experience as trial and appellate counsel in the BC Supreme Court and BC Court of Appeal in a broad range of matters including contract and business disputes, securities litigation, shareholder disputes, class actions, defamation, and trusts.

In addition to his commercial practice, Peter is often retained in difficult matters affecting the legal profession and the public. In A.B. v. C.D., he was appellate counsel for an intervenor in an appeal dealing with informed consent under the Infants Act in the context of transgender healthcare. He regularly acts for the Law Society of British Columbia both as discipline counsel and on appeal. He was appellate counsel for the LSBC in Walkom v LSBC, a case addressing important questions about statutory immunities and whether a duty of care is owed by the Law Society.

Peter’s approach to counsel work reflects the influence of his mentors. After law school, Peter clerked for Chief Justice Lance Finch at the B.C. Court of Appeal, and then joined Nathanson, Schachter & Thompson LLP, where he has learned his craft from some of the province’s best trial and appellate counsel, Irwin G. Nathanson, Q.C., Stephen R. Schachter, Q.C., Murray A. Clemens, Q.C., and Geoffrey B. Gomery, Q.C. (now Mr. Justice Gomery).

Peter is a forceful, fearless, and persuasive advocate. Recognizing that litigation can be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive, Peter protects his clients’ litigation and business interests both inside and outside the courtroom. Peter combines a strong facility with the law, creative problem solving, negotiation skills, tactical insight, practicality, and sound judgment to advocate on his clients’ behalf. When in court, Peter draws from a wealth of experience and skills developed during many long and hard-fought trials and appeals.

As a student of the law and conflict, Peter’s contributions to the law extend beyond the boardroom and courtroom. For example, he is the editor of the Civil Appeal Handbook. He sits on the Board of Directors and Rules Committee for the Vancouver International Arbitration Center. From 2015-2019, he was an adjunct professor at UBC Law teaching a course on the law of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment.

Education
  • British Columbia Bar, 2010
  • J.D., University of Toronto, 2009
  • B.A., University of British Columbia, 2006.
Recognition
  • Litigation Star, 2020, and “40 & Under Hot List,” 2018, 2019 and 2020, Benchmark Canada. Benchmark states: “Peter Senkpiel is observed by peers as someone who ‘will be moving into the upper echelons at that firm. He is a good guy to litigate opposite of. He’s difficult, creative, advances things and puts up a good fight, which I find very fun’.”
Community Involvement
  • Director on the Board of Directors, Vancouver International Arbitration Center.
Cases of Interest
  • Pirani v Pirani, 2020 BCSC 974
    Acting as lead counsel throughout the litigation and trial, and supported by Stephen R. Schachter Q.C. and James P. Parker, Peter acted in a case involving allegations of breach of trust arising from the winding up of one of four family trusts that held significant assets, including hotel properties in BC and the United States. The trial lasted four weeks and involved over 10 days of cross-examination of the defendants by Mr. Senkpiel. In a judgment released June 30, 2020, the trustees were found to have acted in bad faith and to have breached their fiduciary duties. Disgorgement was ordered.
  • A.B. v. C.D., 2020 BCCA 11
    Lead appellate counsel together with Julia K. Lockhart for an intervenor, the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health, in an appeal dealing, in part, with informed consent under the Infants Act in the context of transgender healthcare.
  • Ming Sun Benevolent Society v Philippine Women Centre of B.C., 2020 BCSC 423
    Lead counsel for the Ming Sun Benevolent Society in successfully setting aside a default judgment. The Society has been working to redevelop its building, located in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown, into low-cost social housing, with financial assistance from the BC Housing Management Commission. The judgment creditors had sought damages of over $3,000,000. This result allows the Society to continue to pursue development. NST continues to represent the Society in the dispute.
  • Walkom v. Law Society of British Columbia, 2019 BCCA 391
    Lead appellate counsel supported by Julia K. Lockhart for the Law Society of BC in an appeal addressing important questions about statutory immunities and whether a duty of care is owed by the Law Society. 2018 BCSC 1990
  • DaKow Ventures Ltd. v Daski Contracting Ltd., 2018 BCSC 2016, and 2018 BCSC 2128 Lead trial counsel for New Wave Energy Services and Daski Contracting Ltd. in obtaining an interlocutory injunction enforcing a restrictive covenant prohibiting certain competition by a former principal and employee and a related company.
  • McCormick v. Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, 2014 SCC 39
    Co-counsel for a leading national law firm before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada in relation to a former partner’s human rights age discrimination complaint. McCormick was listed by Lexpert magazine as one of the top 10 business cases of 2014.
  • Sun-Rype Products Ltd. v. Archer Daniels Midland and Others, 2013 SCC 58
    Co-counsel for one of the defendants before the Supreme Court of Canada in a class proceeding alleging a conspiracy to fix prices in the sale and distribution of high-fructose corn syrup. Sun-Rye was part of the Supreme Court’s “Class Action Trilogy,” and listed by Lexpert as one of the “Top Ten Cases of 2013.”
  • Peter acted for the parent company for Freshii restaurants in successfully obtaining an injunction preventing a Freshii franchisee from operating a non-compliant restaurant.
Publications and Presentations
  • Editor of the leading text on appellate practice in BC, the Civil Appeal Handbook.
  • Adjunct professor, UBC Law. 2015-2019, teaching a course on the law of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment.
  • Co-Chair, CLE’s Restitution Course, 2014 (presenter: Change of Position Defence)
  • Regular presenter, Continuing Legal Education courses: Commercial Litigation, 2018 (Oppression Proceedings); How to Be a Great Litigation Junior, 2019; A Litigator’s Arsenal, 2019; Damages, 2020.
  • Guest speaker, CBABC Appellate Advocacy meetings and UBC Law’s Ethics and Professionalism course.
  • Author, “Three’s a Crowd: Third-Party Litigation Funding of Class Actions in Canada,” Canadian Class Action Review, Vol. 5, No. 2, August 2009.