Michael D, Silva - Whitelaw Twining Law Corporation

Michael D, Silva

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2016
Email: msilva@wt.ca
Phone: 604-443-3453

Michael Silva joined Whitelaw Twining in June 2003 and became a Partner at the Firm in 2009. He practices in the area of general litigation, with a focus on transportation matters. Mike is one of two partners in charge of our Firm’s Marine & Transportation, Road Maintenance and Subrogation practice groups. 

Michael has appeared on behalf of clients in British Columbia Provincial and Supreme Courts, the British Columbia Court of Appeal, in Federal Court, and in a variety of administrative tribunals. He has effectively resolved matters involving vessel and motor carrier collisions, marina fires, cargo claims, helicopter crashes, ship and aviation repair and construction disputes, and derailments. Recent cases that have either proceeded to court or have been resolved through arbitration or alternative dispute resolution have included:

  • Moini v. Wild Garlic Bistro et al., Vancouver Registry Action No. S050404: As lead counsel, Mike successfully argued for a complete dismissal of a fire damage claim that the plaintiff had quantified in excess of $500,000.00.  The key issues pertained to duty of care and foreseeability.
  • Stopa v. Mueller and Sons Trucking et al., Vancouver Registry Action No. M050449: This was a fatal, head-on motor vehicle collision occurring on Highway #1 (Trans Canada), approximately 15 miles east of Revelstoke, British Columbia, between a transport truck and a van.  One passenger in the van was killed, while another suffered serious physical injuries, a brain injury and a total loss of ability to earn an income.  We successfully secured a complete dismissal of the claim brought against the transport truck owners and operator.
  • Ivanka Vukorep v. Tony Bartulin, British Columbia Court of Appeal Action No. CA031953: We successfully argued that an owner/operator of a vessel was entitled to rely on limitation of liability legislation following a serious personal injury that occurred on our client's vessel. The key issue on appeal pertained to the trial judge's findings with respect to "seaworthiness" and the ability to break limits as a result of "fault and privity".
  • Gundersen v. Finn Marine Ltd. et al., Nanaimo Registry Action No. S42777: Mike successfully argued that Canada's unique incorporation of the Athens Convention into Canadian Maritime Law through the Marine Liability Act has broadened the scope of application of the Convention in Canada, resulting in the ability to rely on defences available in the Convention in the case in question.
  • A complex cargo and vessel damage claim involving the grounding of a container ship in or around the Kanazana Port in Japan, while on route from China to Vancouver, British Columbia.

  • Resolution of Marina Fire claims acting in some matters as defence counsel for the source boat, and in other matters on behalf of Marinas and other vessel owners that suffered losses as a result of an explosion or fire.

  • Numerous towboat, barge and other vessel collision, grounding and sinking claims, including damages to the vessel, barges, cargo, wreck removal and other issues.

  • Numerous cargo claims involving liability of motor carriers, ocean carriers and freight forwarders.

  • Cargo theft claims.

  • Resolution of pleasure craft collision claims arising from ski boat accidents, operation at night without proper equipment, and organized racing and regatta events.

In addition to his litigation practice, Michael has performed a number of corporate related tasks for his Marine and trucking clients. This solicitor-based work has focused on risk management, corporate litigation and contract drafting, and has included:

  • negotiation and drafting of complex, client specific carriage and towage agreements;
  • negotiation and drafting of multimodal transportation contracts to ship aircraft fuselages from Asia to British Columbia by sea, and the subsequent transport by truck to manufacturing and assembly facilities in Quebec;
  • drafting of sales, warehousing and shipping contracts for both the perishable and non-perishable food and beverage industry;
  • risk management and regulatory work for motor truck transport of hazardous cargo;
  • preparation of standard term contracts and Bills of Lading for towboat operators, motor truck carriers and freight forwarders, and advice respecting the proper and effective use of same; 
  • negotiation and drafting of complex dock and terminal use agreements, and related carriage agreements;
  • purchase and sale, escrow, offshore delivery and related Pleasurecraft and Yacht purchase contracts;
  • advising on insurance issues and drafting of specific endorsements;
  • drafting marine related insurance policy wordings;
  • preparation of Independent Contractor & Employee Protection Agreements for the shipbuilding industry.

University of British ColumbiaBA 1999Queen's UniversityLL.B 2002
British Columbia Maritime Subsection of the Canadian Bar AssociationCanadian Bar Association Maritime Law and Insurance Law SectionsCanadian Maritime Law AssociationCanadian Transport Lawyers AssociationMarine Insurance Association of British ColumbiaMarine Insurance Association of British ColumbiaBritish Columbia Trucking AssociationChamber of Shipping

Office Location

200 Granville Street, Suite 2400
Vancouver, BC V6C 1S4

Practice Areas

Maritime Law

Other Information