Nadia Chiesa specializes in commercial litigation and multi-jurisdictional disputes in Canada and the Caribbean.
Nadia is Chair of the Commercial Litigation Practice Group at WeirFoulds LLP and sits on the firm’s Management Committee. She focuses on multi-jurisdictional litigation involving complex corporate and commercial disputes in various jurisdictions including the Eastern Caribbean, Central America and the US. She has appeared before the Caribbean Court of Justice, and frequently represents clients at all levels of Court in Ontario as well as the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal.
Nadia advises clients on commercial disputes involving shareholder rights and director’s duties, urgent injunctive relief, the registration and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards, and offshore trusts and estates matters. She assists clients with anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and regulatory compliance issues, including extra-territorial freeze orders pursuant to anti-money laundering legislation, MLAT enforcement, treaty rights and obligations in these areas, and general due diligence relating to offshore banking and trusts requirements.
With a keen interest in Constitutional litigation, Nadia has successfully acted in precedent-setting challenges to the anti-LGBT laws in St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda. She spearheads WeirFoulds’ pro bono human rights litigation initiative in the Caribbean which contemplates Constitutional challenges to current legislation offending fundamental rights in international law.
Committed to the development of law students and associates, she is a long-time member of the firm’s Talent Committee, which has oversight for recruitment, hiring and professional development. Nadia is active in mentoring young lawyers and law students both within the firm and in the Toronto legal community. She is frequently asked to speak at legal conferences and industry events, and has given guest lectures at the University of the West Indies.
Nadia is called to the bar in Ontario, as well as St. Kitts and Nevis, BVI and Belize.
Lead counsel on a successful appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice regarding standing to bring an action for the appointment of an inspector to investigate the affairs of the respondent company under s 110(1)(b) of Belize’s Companies Act Cap 250.
Successfully argued the Constitutional challenge to the criminal “buggery” laws in St. Kitts and Nevis. The Court struck down these anti-LGBT laws because they contravened Constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of expression and personal privacy.
Represented claimants in striking out Antigua and Barbuda’s laws which criminalize consensual, private, same-sex intimacy between adults as unconstitutional. With this landmark decision, Antigua and Barbuda became the first country in the Eastern Caribbean to rule these “buggery and serious indecency laws” to be unconstitutional.
Acted in a constitutional challenge to the eligibility of the Leader of the Opposition in St. Kitts and Nevis to continue to hold his seat in government. The case involved the interpretation of a provision found in the Constitutions of most common law Caribbean countries, and resulted in the first reported decision on that question.
Litigated the discharge of extra-territorial freeze orders registered in the Eastern Caribbean pursuant to anti-money laundering legislation and advised on Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) enforcement, and treaty rights and obligations in these areas.
Represented the minority shareholder of a Nevis LLC with respect to a claim for relief from unfair prejudice in hard-fought litigation in Nevis and the Commercial Division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in BVI, and in contemporaneous related actions in Belize and the US.
Acted for the Israeli protector and UK-based trustee of a Nevis international trust in an action alleging misappropriation of trust funds, breach of fiduciary duty and professional misconduct. After successfully challenging several procedural applications by the claimant, and obtaining an order for security for costs, the action was recently dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
Successfully defeated an application to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council for permission to appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeal for the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, bringing to an end almost twenty years of litigation before the courts in Canada and the Eastern Caribbean involving a dispute over valuable property in the Caribbean and clarifying the law on the registration and enforcement of foreign judgments.
Acted as counsel to a client in an Eastern Caribbean country charged under laws criminalizing private consensual sexual activity between adult men. After commencing an application challenging the constitutionality of the laws, the criminal charges were withdrawn.
Represented a government employee in an Eastern Caribbean country facing disciplinary charges arising out of a failure to accommodate her Constitutional right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion, and following various hearings, was instrumental in obtaining an accommodation for the employee from her employer.
Advised the majority shareholder of one of the largest privately held corporations in the Caribbean with respect to corporate governance issues arising from a government financial intervention.
Acted for a minority shareholder of a closely-held corporation in a claim in arbitration for oppression under the Ontario Business Corporations Act and wrongful dismissal.
Retained as counsel to a Canadian-based company in a claim against a Barbados corporation for breach of contract. Successfully revived the defendant company which had been improperly dissolved. The action is ongoing.
Defended the majority shareholder of a closely-held corporation against a claim for oppression under the Ontario Business Corporations Act.
Retained to defend an Ontario corporation and its directors in an oppression and breach of fiduciary duty claim by a minority shareholder.
Advised a group of homeowners who entered into partnership contracts (mortgages) to finance their homes that complied with Shariah law with respect to their rights when the mortgage provider went into receivership.
In the Matter of Sections 3, 7, 12, 15 & 18 of The Constitution of The Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis And In the Matter of Sections 56 & 57 of The Offences against The Person Act, Cap 4.21; Jamal Jeffers and another v The Attorney General of St. Christopher and Nevis,  ECSCJ No. 273
CC&F Inc. v Manor International Inc. and another,  ECSCJ No. 268
TBAR Limited v 1970 Heathcote LLC and others,  ECSCJ No. 427
In the matter of an Application Pursuant to Section 12 of the National Assembly Elections Act Cap 2.01 And in the matter of an Application Pursuant to Section 36 of the Constitution of Saint Christopher and Nevis; Cuthbert Mills v Dr. Denzil Douglas –  ECSCJ No. 204
Dr Lawrence Rawlings v. The Attorney General of St. Kitts & Nevis and the Ministry of Health, Claim No. SKBHCV2016/0344 (per Ward J., 20 March 2017)
- Recognized in the Lexpert Special Edition – Litigation, 2021
- Recognized in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a Leading Lawyer to Watch in Litigation – Corporate Commercial, 2021
- Recognized as one of the Lexpert Rising Stars – Leading Lawyers Under 40, 2020
- Member-at-Large, Commercial Litigation Practice Group, The Advocates’ Society (2019-2020)
- Member, 10+ Standing Committee, The Advocates’ Society (2021-2022)
- The Advocates Society “Train the Trainer” program, which trains litigators in the teaching of trial advocacy skills
Called to the Bar
- Ontario (2011)
- British Virgin Islands
- St. Kitts and Nevis
- J.D., Osgoode Hall Law School, 2010
- Legal Education Certificate, Hugh Wooding Law School, Trinidad
- Bach. of Journalism (Hons.), Toronto Metropolitan University [formerly Ryerson University]
- Ontario Bar Association
- Canadian Bar Association
- The Advocates' Society
- International Bar Association
- Spanish (conversational)
Alumni Mentor, Osgoode Hall Law School’s Osgoode Mentor Programme
- Co-author (with Max Skrow), “Interlocutory Orders, Interim Recovery of Personal Property and Medical Examinations of a Party”, Civil Procedure & Practice in Ontario, September 7, 2021
- “Long way to go after “landmark” anti-buggery laws in SKN struck down!”, Caribbean Magazine Plus, September 9, 2022
- “Justice is never given, it is won: How Eastern Caribbean activists developed the successful strategy to defeat the laws which criminalised LGBT people”, Caribbean Magazine Plus, September 2, 2022
- “Second Eastern Caribbean Nation Strikes Down Colonial-Era Anti-LGTBQ+ Laws”, Law.com, September 1, 2022
- “WeirFoulds LLP partner in Caribbean practice group wins anti-LGBTQ challenge in Antigua and Barbuda”, Canadian Lawyer, August 16, 2022
- “International and Regional Cooperation Key to Successful Challenge of Anti-LGTBQ Laws in Antigua and Barbuda”, Law.com, July 18, 2022