Clare Burns is a senior trusts and estates litigator.
She served as the Children's Lawyer for the Province of Ontario from 2003 to 2008 pursuant to an Order-in-Council appointment.
As the Children's Lawyer, Clare's office was responsible to investigate, advocate, protect and represent persons under the age of 18 in proceedings before the courts and tribunals of Ontario. In this role, she supervised more than 11,000 cases including variations of trust, will challenges, passings of accounts, guardianships and all kinds of dependant's relief matters. She also developed expertise in personal injury matters.
As the Children's Lawyer, Clare appeared in the Ontario Superior Court and the Court of Appeal for Ontario on behalf of children. Notably she was counsel for the child in A. (A.) v. B. (B.), the case which determined that a child could have more than two parents.
Prior to her appointment as the Children's Lawyer, Clare's private practice was restricted to civil litigation. She appeared at the Ontario Superior Court (including many appearances at the Estates List), the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Tax Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada and on various matters dealt with by way of ADR both in Ontario and internationally, pursuant to ICC Rules.
Significant commercial litigation briefs included: Bank of Montreal ats Bourgeois (concerning allegations related to the operation of the Bank's managed futures business), Nesbitt Burns Inc. ats Ukrainain (Fort William) Credit Union Limited (concerning allegations of negligent derivates trading); Exxon Chemical Company ats Lubrizol (motor oil patent infringement); and Lurgi AG ats Cominco (concerning allegations of negligent construction of a lead smelter).
Significant briefs in trust and estate litigation included: acting for estate trustees on passings of accounts seeking approval of commercial transactions involving assets with a value in excess of Cdn $1 billion; and acting for a major trust corporation defending allegations that it failed to obtain an adequate rate of return on trustee investments.
In the three years prior to her appointment as the Children's Lawyer, Clare was designated by Lexpert as a Leading Practitioner of Estate Litigation.
Outside the firm, she is actively engaged in the profession and broader community. She has been a Director of The Advocate's Society and Vice President of the National Association of Public Trustees and Guardians. Clare has taught estates, children's law and trial advocacy at the University of Toronto Law School, Osgoode Hall Law School and the University of Western Ontario Law School.
Clare has spoken widely in a variety of venues and has published many professional papers. She is a Past Director of World Literacy of Canada and About Face Craniofacial Family Society. She received an Ontario Volunteer Award in 2002.