Environmental Civil Litigation

Environmental civil litigation is about lawsuits involving an aggrieved individual, partnership, or company known as a plaintiff who seeks compensation (a.k.a. damages) from a defendant for environmental harm. The outcome of litigation is determined in court unless the parties settle before or amid a trial. Resolutions to environmental claims may alternatively be achieved through settlement discussions, mediation, arbitration, or some combination of them.

Environmental civil litigation expertise


Injunctions allow plaintiffs to seek to prevent migration of contamination, curb nuisances, or prevent other ongoing environmentally damaging activities. Our environmental lawyers have a strong understanding of the process, having worked with clients seeking injunctions as well as clients who defend injunction applications. We are experienced at working under tight time constraints common in these often fast-moving proceedings while keeping clients regularly updated on the court injunction progress.

Environmental lawsuits

When alternative dispute resolution methods are unsuccessful at resolving a case, the dispute must be resolved in court. Our experienced environmental litigators prosecute and defend civil actions in court involving private and public environmental nuisances, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, strict liability, trespass, statutory causes of action, actions that harm public resources resulting in natural resource damages, and professional errors and omissions.

Judicial reviews

When environmental laws do not provide avenues to appeal administrative decisions, these decisions can be subject to judicial review. Our environmental litigators are intimately familiar with judicial review processes, and regularly assist clients with applications for judicial review of environmental assessments and other decisions made by governmental authorities. Recourse in judicial review proceedings is sought in court by the initiation of a Judicial Review Application.


When necessary, our lawyers bring and defend appeals of administrative tribunal decisions and judicial decisions. Appeals from lower court decisions may end up at the Courts of Appeal of Provinces and Territories or even the Supreme Court of Canada.

Dispute resolution

Although going to court always remains an option, many disputes can be resolved faster and with better outcomes for both parties through alternative methods of dispute resolution. Our lawyers represent plaintiffs and defendants involved in environmental disputes in dispute resolution. They negotiate settlements before and in the early stages of litigation, where possible. Depending on the circumstances, our lawyers engage on behalf of clients in neutral facilitation of dispute resolution through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or some combination of them.

Canada's leading environmental law firm

Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP is Canada’s recognized leading environmental law firm, delivering a full range of environmental, Indigenous, and energy law services. For nearly 50 years, our clients have benefitted from our firm’s innovative, practical solutions, and extensive legal knowledge of environmental, Indigenous, energy, and natural resources issues.

With our highly specialized lawyers, we are the largest private-sector environmental law practice in Canada. Seven of our lawyers are Environmental Law Specialists, certified by the Law Society of Ontario.

Contact our environmental lawyers today

Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers has offices in Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, and Yellowknife. Our lawyers are called to the Bar in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Ontario.

To speak with an environmental lawyer, contact us today.