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 Advocates' 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.

Clare Burns is an experienced litigator who acts in complex and highly sensitive matters. Her practice focuses on trusts, estates and capacity litigation. In 2014, Clare was honoured with a Lexpert® Zenith Award for her work in estate and personal tax planning.

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 Advocates' 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.

Reported Cases

Orfus Estate (Re) (2010), 62 ETR (3d) 290 (Ont SC)

A (A) v B (B) (2007) 220 OA C115

Bhandari v Bhandari 2004 Carswell Ont 4918 (Ont CA)

Dabirian v Dabirian (2004), 193 OA C193

Simone v Cheifetz (2000) 137 OA C193

Re Thomson Kernaghan & Co (2003), 50 CBR (4th) 287 (Ont SC)

Headway Property Investments 78-1 In. v Edgecombe Properties Ltd 1998 CarswellOnt 2655 (Ont CA)

Bourgeois v Bank of Montreal 2002 CarswellOnt 1225 (Ont SC)

Ukrainian (Fort William) Credit Union Ltd v Nesbitt, Burns Ltd 104 OAC 273

Re Hicks Estate 2002 CarswellOnt 1163 (Ont SC)

Wilson v Simeunovich 2000 CarswellOnt 2436 (Ont SC)

Blatchford (Litigation guardian of) v Blatchford Estate; (1999) 45 OR (3d) 784 (Ont SC)

Re Phelan (1999) 29 ET. (2d) 82 (Ont SC)

Wallace v Laurentian Heights Ltd 1999 Carswell Ont 986 (Ont SC)

Laird v Mulholland (1998), 21 ETR (2d) 204 (Ont Ct (Gen Div))

Pet Valu Canada Inc v Thorsteinssons (1996), 48 CPC (3d) 332 (Ont Ct (Gen Div))

Re Maria Brown Trust (1995), 8 ETR, (2d) 197 (Ont Ct (Gen Div))

Morgan v Hoogovens Technical Services Canada Inc (1994), 5 WDCP (2d) 334 (Ont Ct (Gen Div))

Dunn v Dunn Estate (1992), 9 OR (3d) 95 (Ont Ct (Gen Div))

620637 Ontario Ltd. v Axton 1992 CarswellOnt 2266 (Ont Ct (Gen Div))

Rothwell Corp v Amstel Brewery Canada Ltd (1991) 6 OR (3d) 651 (Ont Ct (Gen Div))

Adler v Ontario [1996] 3 SCR 609

Publications

"Genetic Material as Property: Rethinking the Common Law View", WeirFoulds LLP, Estate Alert, June 2012

"Mission Impossible: Estate Planning and Assisted Human Reproduction", Estates and Trusts Reports (originally prepared for the Canadian Bar Association's 2010 Canadian Legal Conference and Expo Program), December 2010

"Mission Impossible: Estate Planning and Assisted Human Reproduction", 2010 Canadian Bar Association National Conference, August 2010

"Out of the "Frye" Pan and into the Fire", Estates & Trusts Pensions Journal (Vol. 29, No. 2), March 2010 (with Maralynne Monteith)

"Frye Ruling a Recipe for Litigation", Law Times, Speaker's Corner, October 2009 (with Lori Duffy and Maralynne Monteith)

"Guardianship: What You Need to Know", Total Access, October 2009 (with Lori Duffy and Maralynne Monteith)

"Can You Create An Economic Disincentive to Litigation from Beyond the Grave", Law Times, September 2009

"Estate Litigation Quiz", Canadian Lawyer IN HOUSE Magazine, April 2009 (with Lori Duffy)

"Shareholder Agreements Gone Wrong", WeirFoulds LLP Corporate - Estate Alert Update - Winter 2009, February 2009 (with Lori Duffy)

"Guardianships", WeirFoulds LLP Litigation Update - September 2008, September 2008 (with Maralynne Monteith and Lori Duffy)

Ontario Courtroom Procedure, Lexis Nexis (2nd ed.), Contributing Editor

2010 International Succession (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, Co-author of chapter entitled "Canada"

2008 Special Lectures, Personal Injury Law: The Challenge of Representing Children

2008 National Judicial Institute, Quebec City: The Intersection of Criminal and Child Protection Law

2008 The Ontario Bar Association Institute: Beneficiaries on Ice: Assisted Reproduction Technology and Succession Law in Ontario

2008 Litigation Pre-Institute International Conference of Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

Ontario Courtroom Procedure, Lexis Nexis, 2007 (Edited by Justice D. Ferguson). Contributing Author What's Wrong with Children's Rights? (National Judicial Institute, Vancouver)

Child Legal Representation in Child Custody and Access Disputes: What Do we Really Know About It? (with Dena Moyal and Rachel Birnbaum);

The Problem of Children Giving Evidence: Should the Khan Standard be Lower in Family Proceedings? (with Dena Moyal, Elizabeth McCarty and Katina Kavassalis)

Future Child's Rights in New Reproductive Technology: Thinking Outside the Tube (with Dena Moyal and Lorraine Martin)

(Federation of Law Societies, National Family Law Program, Kananaskis, Alberta, July 2006)

The Future Child's Rights in New Reproductive Technology: Thinking Outside the Tube, with Lorraine Martin and Dena Moyal (Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, 42nd Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington, May 2005)

Children Are Not Short Adults (Advocates' Society Fall Convention, Scottsdale, Arizona)

Representing Children in Custody & Access Proceedings, with Dan Goldberg (National Judicial Institute – Family Law Seminar, Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Suing the Fiduciary: Executors, Inter Vivos Trustees, Guardians and Attorneys (Estates Trusts & Pensions Journal, Vol. 23, No.1)

Issues in Minors' Settlement, with Linda Waxman (Superior Court of Justice Seminar, Toronto, Ontario)

Suing the Fiduciary: Executors, Inter Vivos Trustees, Guardians and Attorneys, LSUC Estates and Trusts Forum

Conflict of Laws in Estate Disputes: A Comment on Monteiro v. Toronto-Dominion Bank, LSUC Estates and Trusts Forum

Current Issues in Estate Administration - Costs and Conflict of Interest, LSUC Special Lectures 1996

New Estate Rules in Ontario - Contentious Proceedings, Annual Review of Estate Law (Carswell: 1995)

Highlights of Significant Case Law, Annual Review of Estate Law (Carswell: 1995)

Speaking Engagements

Clare is a frequent speaker at the following: The Law Society of Upper Canada Special Lectures - Estates, Personal Injury, LSUC Estates and Trusts Forum, LSUC Continuing Education Programmes; The Advocates' Society Lunch Bag Series; National Judicial Institute; Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners; Ontario Bar Association; Ottawa-Carleton Law Association; Ontario Trial Lawyers Association; Ontario Psychiatric Association; Judicial Continuing Education Programs for the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice; Osgoode Hall Law School; University of Western Ontario Law School; University of Toronto.

Speaker, "Effective Tax Planning for Estates with a Focus on Estate Law and Family Law to Minimize Litigation", Ontario Tax Foundation, October 23-24, 2017.

Co-Chair, "Will Challenge Advocacy for Estate Litigators", The Advocates' Society, September 28, 2017.

Speaker, "Case Law Update", the 2017 CIDEL Provence Conference, Seillans, France, September 12-17, 2017.

Speaker, "Planning and Dealing with Unique Estate Assets", 19th National STEP Canada Conference, June 12-13, 2017

Panelist, "Validity of Gifts to Powers of Attorney While the Donor/Grantor is of Questionable Capacity", B'nai Brith Canada, May 23, 2017.

Speaker, "The Six-Minute Estates Lawyer 2017", Law Society of Upper Canada, May 8, 2017

Speaker, "Tips, Traps and Select Issues in Trust Drafting and Administration", STEP Calgary Branch, January 25, 2017

Speaker, "Advocacy", Will, Estate and Trust Fundamentals for Estate Practitioners, Canadian Bar Association, October 26-30, 2016

Speaker, Intersection Between Assisted Human Reproduction and Estates", Ontario Bar Association, September 27, 2016

Speaker, "When Client Instructions Make You Wary", Six Minute Estates Lawyer, May 3, 2016

Speaker, "Expert Evidence", Langdon Hall Senior Practitioners Estate Litigation Forum, April 24-26, 2016

Speaker, "Representation of a Person Alleged to be Incapable", The Annotated Guardianship Application 2016, Law Society of Upper Canada, February 25, 2016.

Speaker, "100 Questions about a Will Challenge", Shaarei Shomayim Synagogue, Toronto, June 2, 2015

Speaker, "How to Overcome Common Challenges in Dealing with Foreign Trusts", Litigation and Administration of Foreign Trusts and Assets, Ontario Bar Association, April 9, 2015 (with Frank Walwyn)

Speaker, "Passing of Accounts: Best Practices", The Law Society of Upper Canada, Toronto, April 24, 2013

Speaker, "Practice Gems: Administration of Estates 2011: Avoiding the Pitfalls," The Law Society of Upper Canada, Toronto, September 14 and October 31, 2011

Speaker, "Mom Always Liked You Best", ADR Section Speaking Series, Ontario Bar Association, 2009

Speaker, "The Children's Lawyer: What You Need to Know", The Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario, 2009

Awards & Recognition

Recognized as a leading practitioner in Trusts and Estates in the 2017 edition of Best Lawyers® in Canada
 
Recognized as a leading practitioner in the 2016 Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory

Recognized as a leading practitioner in Trusts and Estates in Best Lawyers® in Canada 

2014 Lexpert® Zenith Award

Professional Activities

TEP (Trusts & Estates Professional) Designation , STEP Canada

Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto Law School (Estates)

Executive Member, OBA Trusts and Estates Section

Affiliations

Ontario Bar Association

The Advocates Society

The ADR Institute of Ontario Inc.

Partner

Toronto
Direct 416.947.5002
Fax 416.365.1876
cburns@weirfoulds.com

Practice Areas

Litigation

Wills and Trusts

Called to the Bar
Ontario (1991)
Education
Osgoode Hall Law School
LL.B. 1988

London School of Economics and Political Science
LL.M. 1990

University of Windsor/Stitt Feld Handy Group
2009
ADR Certificate of Achievement

Languages
  • French
Awards & Recognition
Recognized as a leading practitioner in Trusts and Estates in the 2017 edition of Best Lawyers® in Canada
 
Recognized as a leading practitioner in the 2016 Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory

Recognized as a leading practitioner in Trusts and Estates in Best Lawyers® in Canada 

2014 Lexpert® Zenith Award
Professional Activities

TEP (Trusts & Estates Professional) Designation , STEP Canada

Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto Law School (Estates)

Executive Member, OBA Trusts and Estates Section

Affiliations

Ontario Bar Association

The Advocates Society

The ADR Institute of Ontario Inc.

Called to the Bar

Ontario (1991)

Education

Osgoode Hall Law School
LL.B. 1988

London School of Economics and Political Science
LL.M. 1990

University of Windsor/Stitt Feld Handy Group
2009
ADR Certificate of Achievement

Languages

  • French