Gavin’s practice focuses on Canadian litigation liability arising out of international transportation and logistics activities. He has represented forwarders, carriers, ship owners, and cargo interests in litigation before the Superior and Federal Courts, as well as through ADR and at various administrative tribunals. He assists clients with a variety of civil and commercial litigation matters, including conflicts referrals, commercial and contract disputes, employment litigation, and privacy and e-commerce issues. He also maintains a significant pro bono practice in International Human Rights Law research and advocacy, chiefly through Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada.
Since 2009 Gavin has served as counsel to and a volunteer Director of the National Board of Directors of the Canadian International Freight Forwarders’ Association (CIFFA); he oversaw the updating of the CIFFA Standard Trading Conditions in 2003, 2010, and 2016, and frequently lectures for the Association’s Certificate education programs and member webinars. He is a member of the Canadian Maritime Lawyers’ Association and sits on its board as the Constituent Member representative for CIFFA. Since 2007 he has been the General Editor and Canadian Member for Forwarderlaw.com, a network of more than 25 transportation lawyers representing over 20 different countries, which provides a free resource and monthly e-news of legal news and information of interest to the global transportation and logistics industries. He was appointed to the Advisory Body Legal Matters for FIATA at the World Congress in Dublin, 2016.
Gavin’s pro bono and public interest practice includes research and litigation support for international human rights and crown liability cases, as well as acting as counsel or providing direct pro bono legal services to non-profit and charitable organizations. He serves as a Director of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, an ECOSOC registered charitable organization focusing on the persecution by States of human rights defenders, and Chair of its sister organization Lawyer’s Rights Watch (Legal Research) Canada. In addition to authoring research, letters, and white papers, Gavin made representations to the 27th, 30th, and 33rd sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva for LRWC. He also assisted in preparing the factum for and appeared before the OCA to argue LRWC’s submissions on internvention in the TWU vs LSUC case, and in preparing submissions for and arguing on behalf of a Toronto City Council candidate on Application before the Superior Court in the constitutional challenge to Bill-5.
Gavin is qualified and licensed to practice law by the Law Society of Ontario.
Education and Experience
Gavin obtained his Bachelor of Laws (Distinction) from Dalhousie Law School in Halifax, Nova Scotia. During his studies he won a number of recognitions including the Ronald St. John Macdonald Award for Public International Law; selection for the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia clerkship; and, while on exchange at Queensland University of Technology (Brisbane, Australia) the Culture Regeneration Society Award for Master’s level legal research in the field of International Intellectual Property. He obtained his Master’s in Law (LL.M) from the University of Toronto with a focus on public international, development, human rights, and humanitarian law.
Prior to commencing his law career, Gavin studied at Queen’s University (Kingston, Canada) obtaining bachelors degrees both in Commerce and in Philosophy, graduating with First Class Honours and winning more than a dozen prizes over his four years.
Between his undergraduate and law school he worked as an Associate with the internationally renowned Boston Consulting Group, providing strategic advice to leading national and multinational clients. He continues to bring his business knowledge and experience to bear for the benefit of clients both by ensuring legal services are provided efficiently on a day-to-day basis and by treating key litigation levers as rational economic decision points for which optimal outcomes can be achieved.
Professional Memberships and Activities
- Canadian International Freight Forwarders’ Association (Associate member, legal counsel, and Director)
- Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada (Director, LRWC, Chair, Lawyer’s Rights Watch (Legal Research) Canada)
- Forwarderlaw.com (General Editor and Member for Canada)
- Canadian Maritime Lawyers’ Association (Member and Board constituency representative for CIFFA)
- Canadian Transport Lawyers’ Association
- United Nations Association Canada
Selected Published Decisions
City of Toronto et al. v. Ontario (Attorney General), 2018 ONSC 5151 (Bill 5 Challenge)
Trinity Western University and Brayden Volkenant v. The Law Society of Upper Canada, 2016 ONCA 518.
Kuehne +Nagel v. Agrimax Ltd.,  FC 1303.
American Transport Logistics v. Kobi Group Inc.,  OJ no 4980 (Sup Ct).
Locher Evers International v. Canada Garlic Distribution Ltd.,  FCJ 388 (T.D.).
Lovat v Blue Anchor Line et al,  FCJ No. 659 (T.D.).
Select Authored Works
Davidson, Gail, and Gavin Magrath, “Balancing Act: Practical Lessons for Human Rights Interventions”, Asper Centre Conference for Public Interest Litigation, February 2018.
Gavin Magrath, “The Utility of a Subjective Happiness Metric in International Development“, University of Toronto Press, October 2014.
Davidson, Gail, and Gavin Magrath, “Briefing to the Committee against Torture, 48th Session, May 2012, on the Omar Khadr case”, Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada, August 2013.
Direct: (+1) 416-931-0463
Fax: 1-888-816-8861 (toll free in Canada and USA)
email: gavin [at] magraths.ca