Havelock (Hav) Madill, Q.C. – Counsel, is the firm’s most senior litigator, with more than four decades of experience. Well regarded for his thorough and effective advocacy, he has appeared before all levels of the courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and has been counsel in some of the larger and more complex litigation that has come before the Courts.
Hav’s practice areas are civil litigation and insurance, including corporate and commercial litigation, products liability claims, directors and officers liability, construction disputes and serious personal injury/wrongful death claims. He is also experienced in mediation and arbitration, both as counsel and as an arbitrator and mediator.
Among the considerable recognitions he has earned over the course of his career, is being named for several years by Best Lawyers in Canada as one of the best lawyers in Canada in the practice areas of Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Director and Officer Liability, Products Liability, Insurance Law and Personal Injury Litigation.
Best Lawyers in Canada has also named Hav “Lawyer of the Year – Edmonton” in the practice areas of Corporate and Commercial Litigation (2021), Product Liability Law (2020), Insurance Law (2019), Corporate and Commercial Litigation (2017), Personal Injury (2016) and Products Liability (2014).
In December 2016, the Globe and Mail Report on Business magazine named Hav one of Canada’s leading litigators.
Hav was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1994.
Born in Wainwright but raised in Brooks, a largely farming and ranching community, Hav remains a prairie boy at heart.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1969 and a law degree (LL.B.) in 1972, both from the University of Alberta. He joined Brownlee in 1972 and has been with the firm for most of his career.
“Usually, I am hired for my experience,” says Hav, who was called to the bar in 1973. “Beyond that, I look for the most efficient, effective way of getting the case resolved.”
In terms of what makes him stand out as a lawyer, Hav recalls an introductory lunch he had with a gentleman who had recently taken a senior position that allowed him to direct a volume of legal work. “I said to him, ‘Look, I have this experience and skill set – but almost every lawyer is going to tell you that. The only way you’re ever going to know for sure is to send me a file, and by the way, make it a hard one, because how else can I distinguish myself?’ Shortly after the meeting, I received a file from him, and it was a hard case with plenty at stake. We did it and we did it well, and the new client was very happy. The relationship grew from there.”
Hav chose law as a career because “the practice of law is a profession, it is intellectually challenging and it appealed to me as somebody who liked a bit of drama and theatre,” he says. “It’s also the chess game that often happens with civil litigation – taking an issue, investigating it and developing a strategy to achieve a result that serves the best interests of the client.”
“I love the law and I love what I do. I’m really fortunate that way. It keeps me highly motivated. I have great clientele and I am with a terrific law firm. It’s challenging work, but I really got lucky – in the practice that I chose, where I work, and the people I work with.”
For a first year associate or law student, he advises, “so much of how they will succeed as a professional is based on the reputation they develop; and a reputation as a good lawyer only comes from hard, diligent work. The first five or six years of practice are very, very important to establishing one’s reputation. There just isn’t any substitute for hard work, if you want to be the best that you can be.”
Hav describes Brownlee’s team approach as offering “very good bench strength, both vertically and horizontally. Being able to draw on the wealth of resources at Brownlee is really what the team approach offers.”
Looking ahead, Hav’s professional goals include focusing more on serving as an arbitrator and mediator. His wide experience, thoughtful approach, and skills and energy equip him very well for this service.
He has been a board member of several community league and non-profit organizations.
Hav and his wife, Pat, have two grown daughters who are now raising families of their own.
- Defence and coverage counsel in property loss claim brought by Calgary based, Cyprus registered oil and gas company involved in contractual and shareholders’ dispute related to joint venture in Russia with Russian based, international oil and gas company. Claim for $16 million currently in litigation. Major jurisdictional issues
- Counsel for international insurance company defending contractual and tort claims against several design and construction consultants involved in construction of major oil sands project. Claims for +$100 million ultimately resolved by extensive, multi-party mediation
- Represented major, Calgary based, international energy company in respect to extensive structural deficiencies in a major, two-tower office high rise office complex in downtown Calgary
- Successfully defended directors and officers of Western Canada based mining company in precedent setting litigation involving Federal Government Immigrant Investment program. Claims for approximately $50 million. Action ultimately dismissed against our clients
- Defence counsel for Directors and Officers in claims arising from receivership of large, national tire manufacturer and distributor
- Defence and coverage counsel in a multi-million dollar fire loss of an under construction multi-residential complex
- Defence counsel for international construction and fabrication company involving multi-million dollar claim for allegedly defective pipe installed in Alberta oil sands project
- Counsel for Alberta based, international internet services company in commercial dispute with giant, Toronto based telecommunication company in contractual disputes involving the operation and construction of Alberta SuperNet. Complex claims involving +$100 million. Resolved by arbitration and negotiation
- Defended Directors and Officers in investors class action regarding failed oil and gas exploration company
- Appointed as defence counsel by international insurer regarding destruction by fire of a technical college in Edmonton
- Insurance coverage counsel for public and private entities involved in $2.3 billion urban development
- Represented senior corporate officer in securities commission investigations and related class actions
- Appointed as defence counsel in actions arising from fire/explosion in an industrial park in central Alberta
- Arbitrator in commercial dispute between fly ash producer and distributor
- Arbitrator/Mediator in commercial land development dispute between joint venturers.
- Defended corporate Officer in securities investigations and investors class actions arising from failed oilfield product supply company
- Coverage counsel in respect to an industrial equipment loss resulting from forest fire
- Defence counsel on a large forest fire loss allegedly arising from brush burning on a well site
- Defence counsel for main stream religious organization in respect to significant sexual abuse and degradation claim
- Represented major, Calgary based, international energy company in significant commercial dispute with prominent, Toronto based, leasing and property company involving head lease agreements, as well as structural deficiencies, pertaining to two -tower high rise office complex in downtown Calgary. Complex claims involving several 10’s of millions of dollars. Resolved by litigation and negotiations
- Counsel for 134 Defendants in document intensive, class action seeking $2.5 billion dollars related to the administration of public authority pension plans. Action ultimately discontinued against clients
- Successfully negotiated resolution of a US$265 million jury award in Florida for wrongful death in a products liability claim
- Defence counsel for global corporation in action for $1.1 billion loss resulting from oil sands plant explosion/fire
- Defence counsel for Architects sued for design deficiencies in major residential condominium project in downtown Calgary. Litigation ongoing
- Counsel for environmental engineers in suit for negligence in carrying out environmental assessments for residential subdivision
- Acted for geotechnical engineers in defence of claims for negligent design and installation of clay liner in lake forming part of new residential development. Resolved by litigation and negotiations
- Defended Quebec-based drilling company facing Fisheries Act charges and other claims arising from environmental spill
- Defending structural engineer in multi-million claim in respect to design and oversight of foundation pads for break presses
- Counsel for the Province in recovery of significant royalties resulting from production interruption of major oil sands facility due to fire
- Numerous contractual disputes, including construction, shareholders dispute, joint ventures, passing off, performance, default and accounting issues
- Coverage and defence counsel in several active and past architect and engineers professional liability claims
- Served as counsel for major party in significant fire at oil sands facility involving loss of approximately $200 million. Matter resolved by dispute resolution process
- Defence counsel in two separate compressor station fires
- Coverage counsel in respect to significant, long-tail pollution claim
- Coverage counsel in respect to claims arising from structural deficiencies in several industrial cranes
- Coverage counsel in respect to losses arising from major gas well blow out
- Coverage counsel in respect to construction deficiencies in a significant East coast, off-shore oil and gas project
- Coverage counsel in substantial claim arising from a fire in a school in the NWT
- Defence counsel for oil and gas exploration company in action for damages arising from forest fire allegedly caused by company’s operations
- Coverage counsel in substantial claim arising from a housing development fire in Nunavut
- Numerous contractual disputes, including construction, shareholders disputes, joint ventures, passing off, performance, default and accounting issues
- Defence counsel in numerous serious injury and fatality claims
- Counsel in numerous contractual disputes, including construction, shareholders dispute, joint ventures, passing off, performance, default and accounting issues
- Coverage and defence counsel in numerous and varied other construction deficiency, property and products liability losses involving commercial and public facilities
- Member, Canadian Bar Association
I started out University with plans to be a large animal veterinarian but discovered that i didn’t have the required physics courses. I then sought entry to the Law Faculty as I had always been intrigued by the law and liked that it was a professional pursuit that fit my personality and could challenge me intellectually, ethically and socially, while offering me freedom and a comfortable and balanced living.