Sabri M. Shawa QC, FCIArb

SABRI M. SHAWA QC, FCIArb

Contact Information

Principal Practice Areas

  • Arbitration, mediation, and negotiation
  • Engineering, environmental, construction and technology litigation
  • Administrative proceedings and judicial review, particularly relating to regulated industries and professional discipline
  • Professional negligence
  • Employment

Sabri Shawa completed a degree in chemical engineering at the University of Calgary in 1987. In 1990 he graduated with a law degree from the University of Alberta. Sabri earned a Master of Laws degree, with a major in Dispute Resolution, from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, in 2006.

In 1995, Sabri and three others founded what is today Jensen Shawa Solomon Duguid Hawkes LLP. The firm focuses on civil litigation and has grown from four lawyers to about two dozen. Sabri was the managing partner of Jensen Shawa Solomon Duguid Hawkes LLP until 2004. He has been the firm's chairperson since 2008. The spectrum of his client base is broad. He has acted for and against countless individuals, governments, and small companies, as well as some of the largest companies in Canada.

Sabri has gained extensive advocacy experience over his more than 20 years of practice. He appears regularly before all levels of court in Alberta and at administrative and regulatory bodies, including the Alberta College of Paramedics, Alberta College of Pharmacists, Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board, Alberta Environmental Appeals Board, Alberta Insurance Council and associated councils, Alberta Securities Commission, Alberta Utilities Commission (formerly Alberta Energy and Utilities Board), College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (formerly Investment Dealers Association of Canada), Law Society of Alberta and Office of the Alberta Superintendent of Insurance.

As part of his administrative law practice, Sabri has brought and resisted many applications for judicial review of administrative decisions.

Sabri's engineering background enables him to understand the technical and practical realities of technology and oil and gas industry clients, and to communicate easily with those clients, regulators and experts. He has experience preparing applications and submissions for approvals to administrative and regulatory bodies and various government agencies. He has also acted for corporations and municipalities in respect of environmental contamination, nuisance and reclamation issues, and has acted for owners, contractors, engineers, architects and insurers in construction and project litigation, including cases involving some of the largest projects in Alberta. In the energy sector, Sabri has represented various parties in royalty and operating disputes, as well as ownership and rights claims, and regulatory hearings.

Sabri has handled numerous professional discipline and negligence matters. His clients have included judges, lawyers, engineers, accountants, investment advisers, stock and insurance brokers, doctors, paramedics, pharmacists and other health care providers.

Sabri has also been hired as counsel to professional discipline tribunals.

For many years, Sabri has acted for employers and employees in dismissal cases. He has brought and defended claims for damages and injunctions in circumstances where former employees were accused by their former employers of breaching confidentiality and non-competition and non-solicitation agreements and of breaching fiduciary duties. He has also acted in discrimination and sexual harassment claims and has been retained to undertake harassment and employee misfeasance investigations. Sabri frequently drafts employment, executive compensation and independent contractor agreements, as well as employment policies.

In health law, Sabri previously represented plaintiffs in medical malpractice actions, including the most serious cases. As well, he has been retained to assist in disputes over other health care issues. For instance, Sabri obtained an injunction requiring a hospital to lift a do not resuscitate order in respect of a patient in a coma. Early in his career he represented hospitals and hospital employees in defence of claims against them.

On a number of occasions Sabri has been involved in claims challenging disposition of assets in wills and in relation to breaches of trust obligations and other estate matters, including Dependant Relief Act applications.

Since the inception of Jensen Shawa Solomon Duguid Hawkes LLP, Sabri's personal injury work has been mostly, but not exclusively, on behalf of plaintiffs. His prior experience was largely in acting for defendants. He has successfully resolved many such claims, including catastrophic injury and fatality claims.

In addition to his trial experience, Sabri has extensive chambers experience including numerous injunction applications relating to commercial, employment, competition, pollution and medical matters.

Sabri has extensive experience at the Court of Appeal. Cases he has argued include those involving shareholders' rights under a shotgun provision, entitlement to gas-cap gas in a split-title dispute, the decision of Alberta Environment to grant an approval to a municipality to build a wastewater pipeline to the Bow River, and a medical malpractice action involving a limitation issue, among others.

Sabri has been retained as an arbitrator on several occasions with respect to a variety of matters including construction projects, franchise agreements, and general commercial disputes. He has also been involved in dozens of arbitrations as counsel for a party. Those arbitrations were in respect of claims arising out of freight contracts, construction and project management agreements, construction deficiencies, contractors' negligence, and labour disputes, among other things. He has drafted agreements which include arbitration clauses, as well as independent arbitration agreements. And, he has provided advice and opinions on the application and enforceability of arbitration provisions.

In addition to being an arbitrator, Sabri is an experienced mediator and has been selected to mediate hundreds of disputes. He is on the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board's roster of mediators. Sabri has also served as a mediator in the Alberta Justice Provincial Court Civil Claims Mediation and Better Business Bureau Mediation Programs.

As a negotiator Sabri has helped to bring together people and organizations to create productive and valuable enterprises, particularly with respect to the provision of professional services. Most notable, he negotiated an agreement between two partnerships, totaling about 80 medical professionals, resulting in the formation of a new partnership. In turn, he negotiated a professional services agreement between that new entity and what is now Alberta Health Services for the provision of services worth many millions of dollars. Those negotiations lasted more than a year and their success represented a significant breakthrough in the relationships among the various parties. Sabri continues to serve as the chairperson of the management committee of the new partnership.

Sabri has also been hired as an expert witness to provide opinions on legal matters before the courts.

As a former member of the Conduct Committee of the Law Society of Alberta, Sabri participated as a panel member in reviewing the conduct of lawyers against whom complaints had been made. He has also been a member of the Law Society's Insurance Committee.

Sabri has been featured as a presenter and moderator in continuing legal education conferences and seminars on topics including arbitration, mediation, evidence, negligence, limitations, insurance, sexual torts, brain and spinal cord injury litigation, accident reconstruction, obstetric malpractice and legal liability and screening of volunteers. He has also been a speaker at various events sponsored by and for non-legal organizations.

Sabri began his practice articling with a major Calgary law firm in 1990. He then practiced as an associate with that firm's litigation department until 1995, gaining general litigation experience with an emphasis on insurance and hospital defence as well as employment law. During that period, Sabri belonged to the defence team which represented an electrical cable manufacturer who was sued along with hundreds of other parties. The claim resulted from a catastrophic fire at a large oil sands plant in 1987. It was settled through an innovative resolution process devised in large part by that defence team. His practice also included commercial litigation and criminal defence work, as well as prosecutions for the Federal Department of Justice.

In addition to his practice, Sabri has an interest in teaching. From 2003 to 2010, he was a sessional instructor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary teaching Civil Procedure and has also been a guest lecturer in other courses. In 2009, Sabri was nominated for the Howard Tidswell Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. Sabri is the chairperson of the Community Advisory Board for the Forensic Studies Program at Mount Royal University, and has authored portions of courses for that program. He has been involved with that program since its inception in 1997.

Sabri has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Legal Education Society of Alberta since 2012.

From 1994 to 2003, Sabri was a member, and served terms as president, of the Resicare Society of Alberta which operates residential facilities for developmentally disabled adults. Sabri was a member of the Board of Directors of Theatre Junction from 1996 to 1999.

In 2003, Sabri was profiled in Calgary Inc. Magazine as one of its Top 40 Under 40 Calgarians.

Sabri is a member of the Law Society of Alberta, various subsections of The Canadian Bar Association, the Calgary Bar Association, the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association, the ADR Institute of Alberta and ADR Canada. In 2014 Sabri became a Fellow (FCIArb) of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London, an internationally recognized dispute resolution organization.

Sabri was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2012.

Currently, Sabri's primary areas of interest are:

Arbitration, mediation, and negotiation

Sabri has been involved in many arbitrations, both as counsel for a party and as arbitrator, including with respect to:

  • construction and project management
  • franchise agreements
  • commercial contracts
  • labour relations
  • freight contracts
  • professional negligence

He has also been retained to mediate hundreds of disputes and represented parties in many others with respect to:

  • personal injury
  • insurance claims
  • professional negligence
  • dismissals

He has negotiated:

  • complex professional services agreements
  • large partnership agreements
  • employment, executive compensation and independent contactor agreements, particularly with respect to physicians, engineers and lawyers

Engineering, environmental, construction and technology litigation

Sabri has litigated numerous claims involving:

  • royalty and operating agreements, as well as ownership and rights issues
  • environmental contamination, nuisance and reclamation
  • construction deficiencies and engineering and design faults and failures
  • misappropriation of proprietary technology, data and equipment

Administrative proceedings and judicial review, particularly relating to regulated industries and professional discipline

Sabri has represented parties at a variety of hearings, including at the:

  • Alberta College of Paramedics
  • Alberta College of Pharmacists
  • Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board
  • Alberta Environmental Appeals Board
  • Alberta Insurance Council and associated councils
  • Alberta Securities Commission
  • Alberta Utilities Commission (formerly Alberta Energy and Utilities Board)
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta
  • Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (formerly Investment Dealers Association of Canada)
  • Law Society of Alberta
  • Office of the Alberta Superintendent of Insurance

In addition, Sabri has brought and responded to a variety of applications for judicial review of decisions of these and other bodies.

Sabri has also been counsel to professional discipline tribunals.

Professional negligence

He has represented judges, lawyers, engineers, accountants, investment advisers, stock and insurance brokers, doctors and other health care providers in claims against them.

Employment

Sabri frequently provides opinions to, and represents, both employers and employees in claims involving:

  • wrongful and constructive dismissal
  • breach of confidentiality, non-competition and non-solicitation obligations
  • breaches of fiduciary duties
  • injunctions
  • discrimination and sexual harassment

He has also been retained to undertake harassment and employee misfeasance investigations.

Sabri often drafts employment, executive compensation and independent contractor agreements, as well as employment policies.

31 January 2013

Please contact Sabri M. Shawa QC, FCIArb at shawas [at] jssbarristers [dot] ca if you are interested in receiving a copy of any of the following:
  • Mount Royal University Forensic Studies Program 1997 - present
    Community Advisory Board member (Chairperson since 2004) and co-author of two internet course units
  • Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) 2012
    instructor, advocacy
  • Halsbury's Laws of Canada First Edition 2011
    Co-Author, Civil Procedure Update, Alberta Rules of Court, Cumulative Supplement Release 14, LexisNexis
  • Law Matters (Canadian Bar Association Alberta) 2011
    Authored article: Mandatory Mediation under the New Alberta Rules of Court - the First Year
  • Legal Education Society of Alberta Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshop 2009, 2011
    guest instructor
  • ADR Institute of Canada Peak Performance in ADR Conference 2011
    moderator: Financial Experts in ADR
  • Legal Education Society of Alberta Arbitration Seminar 2011
    speaker
  • Legal Education Society of Alberta Civil Advocacy Series: Evidence for Litigators Seminar 2011
    Panellist and workshop instructor
  • University of Calgary 2003 - 2010
    sessional instructor, Faculty of Law, Civil Procedure
  • University of Calgary Intensive Trial Advocacy Course 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009
    guest instructor
  • Legal Education Society of Alberta New Lawyer Experience Seminar 2009
    co-chairperson
  • Calgary Medical Legal Society 2008
    speaker: Medical Care for the Gravely Ill - Who Calls the Shots?
  • CBC TV (The National News at Six) and CBC Radio (Calgary Eyeopener) 2007
    interviews about an injunction obtained in respect of a comatose patient
  • Insight Information Co. Obstetric Malpractice and Risk Management Conference (Vancouver) 2004
    speaker: Elective C-Sections - Latest Challenges and Complications
  • Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association Sexual Torts Workshop 2004
    moderator
  • Cochrane High School 1989 and 2004
    graduation ceremony guest speaker
  • Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association Section B Auto Insurance Workshop 2003
    speaker
  • Canadian Institute Litigating Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries Conference (Toronto) 2003
    speaker: Building the Plaintiff's Case
  • University of Calgary 1997 - 2002
    regular guest speaker, Faculties of Nursing and Continuing Education, Nursing and Healthcare in Forensic Populations
  • Canadian Institute Auto Insurance Claims Litigation Conference 2002
    speaker: Use of Experts in Accident Reconstruction
  • University of Calgary 2002
    guest lecturer, Faculty of Law, Civil Procedure
  • Volunteer Calgary 1997 - 2000
    regular speaker: Legal Liability, Insurance and Screening Practices for Not-for-Profit Organizations
  • Essential Talk Network 2000
    internet radio interview about suing politicians
  • University of Calgary 2000
    guest lecturer, Faculty of Law, Remedies
  • Conflict Solutions 2000 Conference 2000
    panel member at national dispute resolution conference
  • Lexpert Medical Negligence Conference 1998
    speaker: Standard of Care, Consent and Limitation Period Issues
  • Lawyers Weekly 1998
    authored article: Informed Consent Most Difficult Medical Negligence Issue
  • Canadian Bar Association Health Law Subsection 1998
    speaker: Informed Consent

1 March 2012

I earned a Master of Laws degree with a major in Dispute Resolution from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, in 2006. My course of study there included arbitration, international commercial dispute resolution, and international trade law.

I have been retained as an arbitrator on several occasions with respect to a variety of matters including construction projects, franchise agreements, and general commercial disputes.

In the more than 20 years I have been practicing as a litigator in Calgary, I have been involved in dozens of arbitrations as counsel for a party. Those arbitrations were in respect of claims arising out of freight contracts, construction and project management agreements, construction deficiencies, contractors' negligence, and labour disputes, among other things.

As part of my practice I have, on many occasions, drafted agreements which include arbitration clauses, as well as independent arbitration agreements. I have also provided advice and opinions on the application and enforceability of arbitration provisions.

In 2011, I spoke at the Legal Education Society of Alberta's Arbitration Seminar on the selection, appointment and jurisdiction of the arbitrator, scope and composition of the award, and enforcement of awards (domestic and international).

When I was a member of the Conduct Committee of the Law Society of Alberta, I sat as a panel member in hearings reviewing the conduct of lawyers against whom complaints had been made. I have also acted as counsel to various tribunals to provide advice to hearing panel members in the course of proceedings.

I am a member of ADR Canada and the ADR Institute of Alberta. This year I became a Fellow (FCIArb) of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London, an internationally recognized dispute resolution organization.

I would be happy to speak with you about any potential appointment.

I am listed in Best Lawyers International for Alternative Dispute Resolution (arbitration and mediation).

Background

  • Sabri is listed in Best Lawyers International for Alternative Dispute Resolution (arbitration and mediation).
  • In addition to an LLB, Mr. Shawa has a degree in chemical engineering and a Master of Laws degree, with a major in Dispute Resolution. He was the Managing Partner of the firm for a number of years, and is presently the firm's Chairman.He appears regularly before all levels of Court in Alberta, and at administrative and regulatory tribunals.
  • Mr. Shawa is a member of the ADR Institute of Alberta and he has extensive experience acting as a mediator and arbitrator.
  • He taught Civil Procedure at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law from 2003 to 2010.
  • His engineering background stands him in good stead in technical disputes.

Mr. Shawa's litigation experience spans the following areas:

  • Construction/Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Commercial, including shareholders/directors/ fiduciary obligations
  • Insurance
  • Employment/dismissal/competition and confidential information
  • Environmental and pollution
  • Municipal and Local Government
  • Estate and Trust
  • Fatality and serious personal injury
  • Professional negligence and discipline
  • Phone: 403-571-1520
  • Fax: 403-571-1528
  • inquiries [at] jssbarristers [dot] ca
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