Stuart Svonkin


Telephone: 416-855-0404
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Assistant: Maria Lamanna
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Stuart Svonkin’s civil litigation practice focuses on a wide range of corporate/commercial matters, with an emphasis on large, complex business cases. He has extensive experience dealing with technology licensing and development disputes, copyright and other intellectual property issues, media and privacy law, Internet and e-commerce matters, product liability cases, insurance issues, domestic and international arbitration proceedings, class actions, employment-related disputes, oppression remedies, estate matters and constitutional and Charter litigation. Before founding Chernos Flaherty Svonkin LLP with David Chernos and Pat Flaherty, Stuart practised at Torys LLP in Toronto for over a decade, including for six years as a partner in that firm. Stuart has appeared as counsel before all levels of court in Ontario, before the Federal Court of Canada, before the Tax Court of Canada, and before the Supreme Court of Canada. He has also frequently acted as counsel in domestic and international arbitrations and before a variety of administrative tribunals.


Lexpert/Thomson Reuters' Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, since 2019 - Repeatedly Recommended practitioner in corporate commercial litigation

Legal Media Group's Benchmark Canada, Litigation star in commercial, intellectual property and product liability

Representative Counsel Matters

Stuart has represented

  • an executive aircraft charter company in insurance coverage disputes
  • the world’s largest ticket services company in class actions brought in multiple Canadian jurisdictions
  • a Canadian bank and credit card issuer in defending claims seeking damages in respect of class actions alleging conspiracy, unlawful interference and anti-competitive behavior in relation to interchange fees
  • an Ontario power generation company, in its successful defence of an oppression claim seeking to unwind its acquisition of a cogeneration power facility in Northern Ontario commenced in the context of CCAA proceedings involving its parent company
  • a major mutual fund company in tax-related litigation
  • a home energy company in the defence of actions alleging anti-competitive and other unlawful conduct
  • a leading Canadian manufacturer in claims against a competitor for alleged misuse of confidential information
  • a major Canadian bank in the defence of class actions concerning overtime compensation
  • a large construction company in a claim against a municipality for breach of the terms of a request for proposal
  • an investment dealer in various matters related to alleged breaches of contract, breaches of fiduciary duty and misuse of confidential information by former employees
  • a leading Canadian manufacturer asserting claims that former employees had stolen and misused confidential technical information
  • a Canadian bank in defence of claims of breach of contract and copyright infringement
  • a Canadian bank in a case involving allegedly forged cheques
  • a multinational corporation in an arbitration proceeding involving claims for breach of a software development and licensing agreement, copyright infringement and breach of confidence
  • a North American manufacturing company defending claims of breach of contract and breach of confidence stemming from the sale of a business
  • one of the world’s largest information technology companies in disputes involving software licensing and alleged patent infringement
  • an energy drink manufacturer in a proposed class action involving allegations of improper labeling
  • a Canadian bank in disputes over a number of software development projects
  • various clients in disputes relating to software and other intellectual property
  • various clients in disputes arising out of sales of businesses
  • a large Canadian bank in a proposed class action proceeding relating to mortgage prepayment penalties
  • a cable television company in a commercial arbitration involving disputes arising from the sale of a business
  • an international film and television company in a dispute regarding the alleged disclosure of confidential information
  • a multinational manufacturer in a products liability action
  • both employers and employees in various matters relating to terminations, employee departures and competition by former employees
  • various U.S.-based clients seeking discovery in Ontario
  • the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in an appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada relating to the availability of damages for breaches of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in a constitutional challenge to Section 4 of the Security of Information Act
  • the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in a case challenging the distribution of religious texts in the public schools

Professional Involvement

Stuart regularly teaches, writes, and lectures on subjects including trial and appellate advocacy, intellectual property issues, privilege, class actions and arbitration. He has served as a member of the Executive of the Ontario Bar Association’s Class Actions Section.

Selected Publications and Presentations

Brendan Brammall and Stuart Svonkin, “The Loss of Chance Doctrine in Canadian Law”
Annual Review of Civil Litigation 2018, The Honourable Mr. Justice Todd L. Archibald, Editor
(Thomson Reuters Canada, 2018)

"Infringement by Accident? Subconscious Copying in the Digital Age"
Technology and Law Lecture Series, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law
November 23, 2011

Ontario’s Commercial Mediation Act
The Six-Minute Business Lawyer 2011, Law Society of Upper Canada
June 13, 2011

Navigating the Limits and Restrictions of Interventions in Constitutional Challenges and Charter Cases
The Canadian Institute’s Advanced Training on Charter and Constitutional Law and Litigation, Ottawa
May 16, 2011

Tips on Drafting Arbitration Clauses
The Lawyers Weekly, Vol. 30, No. 37
February 11, 2011

Commercial Contract Dispute Resolution
Essentials of Commercial Contracts Course, Federated Press
May 27-28, 2010

Questioning the Conventional Wisdom on Arbitration
The Lawyers Weekly, vol. 29, no. 37
February 12, 2010

We're Not in Kansas Anymore: A Brief Guide to Litigation Procedure and Practice in Ontario
American Lawyer Media's
November 11, 2008

Making and Defending a Case for Aggravated/Punitive Damages in Commercial Disputes
Litigating Commercial Damages, Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development Conference (with Earl A. Cherniak, Q.C.)
June 2008

A Primer on Ontario Oral Discovery for U.S. Lawyers
American Lawyer Media's
December 19, 2007

Intellectual Property Damages
Eighth Annual Alliance for Excellence in Investigative and Forensic Accounting Conference
November 2006

Media and Canadian Civil Liberties Association Challenge Searches of Ottawa Newspaper and Reporter
MLRC MediaLawLetter
September 2006

Recent Developments in the Law of Access—2001
3 Communications Law 2001, Practicing Law Institute

Jews Against Prejudice: American Jews and the Fight for Civil Liberties
Columbia University Press

Selected Media Highlights

February 5, 2013: Stuart Svonkin and Sarah Whitmore argue before Human Rights Tribunal regarding a school board’s policy for distribution of religious materials, in Sun News

July 25, 2011: Computer forensic experts required in many cases involving electronic information, says Stuart Svonkin in Law Times

November 10, 2006: The significance of the O’Neill v. Canada ruling is huge in terms of its practical effect, says Stuart Svonkin in Lawyers Weekly

October 20, 2006: Section 4 of Canada's Security and Information Act was impermissibly overbroad, says Stuart Svonkin in The Globe and Mail

August 24, 2006: Canada's Security of Information Act violates Canadians' fundamental rights, Stuart Svonkin tells CBC, Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun


The Advocates' Society
Ontario Bar Association
Canadian Bar Association
Harvard Club of Toronto

Bar Admissions

Ontario, 2003
Massachusetts, 1999


JD (cum laude), 1999
Harvard Law School

PhD (With Distinction), 1995
Columbia University

BA (High Honors, Phi Beta Kappa), 1989
Wesleyan University