James Manson is an experienced commercial litigator specializing in maritime and transportation matters. He has represented clients in the courts of many Canadian jurisdictions including Ontario (all levels), British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Alberta and in the Federal Court.
Creative, curious and a consummate advocate, James recognizes that every client is unique and requires a tailored solution that fits their precise circumstances and goals.
In addition to providing sound legal and strategic advice, James also understands that at their core, legal disputes are complex human interactions. With that in mind, he strives to uncover the human element at play in each case, and to use that knowledge to his clients' ultimate advantage.
James’s practice focuses on all aspects of the dispute resolution process, from formal court proceedings and arbitrations to administrative tribunal matters, to mediations and informal settlement negotiations. James brings considerable litigation experience to bear in the following areas:
- Maritime: acting for shippers, carriers and other interests in all matters relating to admiralty and maritime law, including cargo disputes, property damage and casualty matters, collisions, limitation of liability proceedings, contract disputes, maritime lien disputes and others
- Transportation & Logistics: representing clients in all modes of transportation (shippers, road and rail carriers, freight forwarders and others) in matters relating to the transportation and logistics industry, including contract disputes, negligence claims, limitation of liability issues, cargo claims, lien claims and others
- Warehousing: acting for warehousers and storers in connection with contract and negligence disputes, storer’s lien disputes and other issues
- Insurance Coverage & Defence: acting for clients in matters relating to all types of insurance coverage and defence
- Commercial Litigation: acting in relation to contract, negligence and other disputes in a wide range of areas
James was recently elected director of both the Canadian Maritime Law Association and the Canadian Transport Lawyers Association.
An experienced writer and public speaker, James is regularly called upon to prepare articles for and give presentations to industry and professional associations in the marine and transportation spheres.
Professional achievements & leadership
- Board of Directors, Canadian Transport Lawyers’ Association, 2021 – present
- Board of Directors, Canadian Maritime Lawyers’ Association, 2021 – present
- Cooke Aquaculture Inc. v. Continental Casualty Company, 2020 ONSC 7588
- Paul’s Transport Inc. v. Immediate Logistics Ltd., 2020 ONSC 4321
- St. Clair Boating v. Michigan Electric Supply, 2017 ONSC 3864
- McKeil Marine Ltd. v. Canada (Attorney General), 2016 FC 1063
- Represented a marine transportation company in an action brought by a ferry operation against several defendants, alleging that a convoy of the defendants’ vessels caused ice sheets on a major river system to be shoved into the ferry’s terminal buildings, causing catastrophic damage
- Represented a freight intermediary in an action brought by a precious metals shipper against several defendants, alleging that a cargo of silver worth USD$10 million was lost due to the defendants’ negligence and/or intentional conduct
- Represented a global freight forwarding company against an ocean carrier in connection with a cargo of Cuban rum damaged en route to Canada
- Represented a railcar services corporation in a complex product liability lawsuit in which a railway tanker car catastrophically failed, spilling its contents of ferric sulphate on the ground at a railway yard in Concord, Ontario
- Represented a major Canadian bulk food retail operation against an ocean carrier in connection with a cargo of cashew nuts contaminated en route to Canada
- Represented a marina in northwestern Ontario in a personal injury lawsuit
- Represented a wire rope manufacturer in a complex product liability action brought by a Great Lakes shipping company
- Represented a Quebec-based whale-watching execution company in a limitation action under the provisions of the federal Marine Liability Act
- Represented a major aerospace company in an action against a Nova Scotia motor carrier involving damage to cargo
- Represented a major heavy lifting and transportation company in an action brought by an Ontario general contracting company, alleging damages in connection with a crane collapse incident at a construction site
- Represented a major transportation services company in an application to recognize and enforce an international arbitration award against the respondents
- Speaker, “Marina Law”, Association of Marina Industries, October 13, 2021
- Speaker, “Marine Insurance Coverage Update”, February 11, 2021
- Speaker, “Marina Law”, Association of Marina Industries, December 2, 2020
- Speaker, “Force Majeure: It’s Frustrating”, CMLA Annual Seminar, June 12, 2020
- Speaker, “Risky (Shipping) Business: Marine Activity in the High Arctic and the St. Lawrence Seaway”, February 10, 2020
- Speaker, “Canadian Employment Law (May Blow Your Mind)”, IWLA Warehouse Legal Practice Symposium, November 12, 2019
- Speaker, “Canadian Warehouse Law… Eh?”, IWLA Webinar, August 1, 2019
- Author, “Case Comment – Canadian National Railway Company v. ACF Industries LLC”, The Transportation Lawyer, May 10, 2019
- Author, “Damage Control: Five steps to minimize cargo claims”, Today’s Trucking, March 2018
- Speaker, “Working on the (Block)chain Gang”, CTLA AGM & Educational Conference, October 26, 2018
- Speaker, “Civil Litigation in the Transportation Industry”, ORI Brokers’ Conference, September 6, 2018
- Speaker, “Blockchain 101”, CILTNA Greater Toronto Region Chapter, May 14, 2018
- Speaker, “Top Transportation Tips from Toronto”, Transportation and Logistics Council, March 20, 2018
- Speaker, “Maritime Case Law Update”, Canadian Maritime Law Association, June 9, 2017
- Speaker, “Defending Cargo Claims”, January 19, 2017
- Speaker, “Limiting Liability in the Warehousing and Maritime Industries”, Supply Chain Management Association Annual Conference, June 17, 2016
- Author, “Cargo Claim Limitation Periods in the Common Law Provinces: An Overview”, The Transportation Lawyer, January 14, 2016
James is proud to serve on the board of directors of Water’s Edge Festivals & Events. WEFE is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to promoting Toronto’s waterfront community. WEFE organizes large-scale events, there and elsewhere on the Great Lakes, including the annual Redpath Waterfront Festival and Sugar Shack TO.
A former professional musician, James is also a proud member of Orchestra Toronto, a community-based symphony orchestra based in the Greater Toronto Area.
- Canadian Maritime Law Association
- Canadian Transport Lawyers Association
- Maritime Law Association of the United States
- International Warehouse Logistics Association
Bar admissions & education
- New York, 2010
- Ontario, 2008
- Bachelor of Laws, Queen’s University, 2007
- Bachelor of Arts, McGill University, 2004
- Bachelor of Music (Performance), University of Manitoba, 1999