James H. "Jim" Smellie

James H. "Jim" Smellie

Gowling WLG

Recognized since 2006

Calgary, Alberta

Practice Areas

Energy Law

Energy Regulatory Law

Natural Resources Law

Oil and Gas Law

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2019 - Energy Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2012 - Energy Regulatory Law
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Jim Smellie is a senior partner in Gowling WLG's Calgary office. His practice focuses on energy regulatory matters, administrative law and litigation.

In the oil and gas sector, Jim has extensive experience as counsel before the National Energy Board, Alberta Utilities Commission and other provincial regulatory tribunals. He has represented natural gas producers, transmission pipelines, distributors, governments, petrochemical interests, marketers and shippers in respect of facilities applications, export/import authorizations, and tariff issues, both in the normal course and on major project-specific briefs, such as the Sable Offshore Energy/Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline Projects, the proposed Alaska Pipeline, the Mackenzie Gas Project, and the Energy East Project.

In electricity matters, his experience as regulatory counsel includes extensive work on behalf of Alberta’s Independent System Operator, as well as for other market participants. This extends to open access matters, cost of capital and other tariff issues, greenfield and thermal plant expansions, export authorizations and numerous transmission system expansions/enhancements. He recently acted as counsel to Emera Newfoundland and Labrador in securing regulatory approval from the Nova Scotia Utility & Review Board for the Maritime Link component of the Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Project.

Jim also advises clients concerning the acquisition, disposition and financing of regulated energy assets, including pipelines, cogeneration plants and transmission facilities.

His litigation focus includes numerous commercial arbitrations (both as an arbitrator and as counsel), appearances in the Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal, provincial superior and appellate courts, and the Supreme Court of Canada.

His extra-curricular activities include having served as senior instructor in public law at the Bar Admission Course of the Law Society of Upper Canada in Ottawa for some 15 years. He also regularly acts as pro bono counsel to high-performance Canadian amateur athletes in diverse disciplines, on negotiations, arbitrations and other dispute resolution on a variety of matters, including national, International, Olympic and Paralympic team selection, discipline, athlete funding, and related issues.

Jim is widely recognized by his peers and in several ranking publications for his regulatory expertise in the energy sector.


  • 421 Seventh Avenue, SW, Suite 1600
    Calgary, AB T2P 4K9

Bar Admissions

  • Ontario, Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Alberta, Law Society of ALberta
  • District of Columbia, Energy Bar Association


  • American Bar Association - Member
  • Canadian Bar Association - Member
  • Energy Bar Association - Member
  • Law Society of Alberta - Member
  • Law Society of Upper Canada - Member

Gowling WLG
Headquarters: Toronto, Ontario

236 The Best Lawyers in Canada awards

20 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Canada awards

Law Firm of the Year Badge Full Firm Profile

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2019 - Energy Law Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2012 - Energy Regulatory Law

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:

  • Energy Law, Calgary, Canada (2019)
  • Energy Regulatory Law, Calgary, Canada (2012)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada 2022 for work in:

  • Energy Law
  • Energy Regulatory Law
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Oil and Gas Law

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