Environmental Law Moot – the Orphan Well Decision

I had the pleasure last week of joining with other senior members of the Ontario environmental law bar to help judge the 2019 Willms & Shier Environmental Law Moot. Thank you to my colleagues at Willms & Shier for inviting me back and warm congratulations to them on organizing another successful moot.

The moot was held once again at Ontario’s Court of Appeal in Osgoode Hall, this time to hear the teams argue an appeal of the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision in the Orphan Well case to the “Supreme Environmental Moot Court of Canada”, a fictional court of last resort.

That task was complicated by the recent release of the decision of the real Supreme Court of Canada in that case, as reported in our article Provincial Environmental Obligations Prevail Over Federal Bankruptcy Laws – Supreme Court of Canada

The contestants: teams drawn from law schools across Canada maintained and improved on the extremely high standards of advocacy set in previous years. Their depth of research and preparation became apparent as the advocates dealt with penetrating questions from the bench.

The bench for the final consisted of  three “real life” judges: Justice Suzanne Côté of  the Supreme Court of Canada (one of the two dissenting justices in the Orphan Well decision), Justice Mary Gleason of the Federal Court and Justice Katherine van Rensburg of the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Announcement of the winners of the final (University of Saskatchewan), along with distinguished oralists and best written factum, was left to the end of the evening’s awards dinner. Congratulations to all of the winners and, indeed, to all participants.


Manning Environmental Law is a Canadian law firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Our practice is focussed on environmental law, energy law and aboriginal law. 

Paul Manning is a certified specialist in environmental law. He has been named as one of the World’s Leading Environmental Lawyers and one of the World’s Leading Climate Change Lawyers by Who’s Who Legal.

As always, these posts  are provided only as a general guide and are not legal advice. If you do have any issue that requires legal advice please get in touch. Our contact details can be found here

This entry was posted in Constitutional Law, Energy Regulation, Environment, Environmental, federal environmental regulation, Mining and Extractive Industries and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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