Rick Dearden, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, is a senior litigation partner in the firm's Ottawa office, practising primarily in the areas of international trade, investor-state arbitration, media and defamation law, freedom of information and administrative law.
Rick has appeared as counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada, all levels of Courts in Ontario, the Federal Courts of Canada, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal and binational panels established under Chapter 19 of the North America Free Trade Agreement. He is a former Chapter 19 panellist and served as chair of one of the Softwood Lumber III panels. In addition, he provides counsel and strategic advice regarding NAFTA and World Trade Organization issues, particularly intellectual property rights.
Rick also served as vice-chair of the International Bar Association's Trade Law Sub-Committee and as a member of the American Bar Association Council for the Section on International Law and Practice.
In his media and defamation law practice, Rick has acted as counsel in leading defamation trials and appeals, Canadian Charter of Rights freedom of the press cases and freedom of information cases. Rick acted as counsel for the Ottawa Citizen before the Supreme Court of Canada in the seminal cases of Cusson v.Quan and Grant v.Torstar that created the "public interest responsible communication" defence to libel actions in Canada. He teaches the Media and Libel Law Course at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law.
Rick served as chair of the International Bar Association's Media Law Committee and as a member of the IBA's Council for the General Practice Section. Rick is a recipient of the President's Award from the Centre For Investigative Journalism for furthering the cause of investigate journalism in Canada.
Rick was a member of the legal team that represented the Government of Mexico during the negotiation and implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He represented the United States Trade Representative during the negotiation of Chapter 19 of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and the implementation of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. He has represented multinational companies in international trade disputes (antidumping, countervail, customs) and investor-state arbitrations.
Rick has represented the Ottawa Citizen for over 30 years in leading defamation and freedom of the press cases, acted as counsel for the Right Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper in libel cases and also acts for the Information Commissioner of Canada in access to information matters. He acted for the Office of the Auditor General during the hearings of the Commission of Inquiry Into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities (the Gomery Inquiry) and during audits.