Michael Kerr has a dual practice in corporate commercial civil litigation and estate litigation. He has experience in matters involving estates, trusts, contracts, shareholder disputes, and wrongful dismissal claims.
Michael has acted as counsel in a wide range of disputes at all levels of courts in Ontario. He has represented clients before the Ontario Securities Commission and various self-regulatory organizations.
Michael’s in-depth experience allows him to provide a pragmatic assessment of the situation, and well-reasoned recommendation for action. He ensures that his clients are kept informed throughout the litigation process and that they are well prepared for the decisions necessary at each stage.
Past Instructor, Osgoode Hall, Trial Advocacy Program
Past Instructor, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Forensic Investigators Program
Member of the Miller Thomson Executive Committee (2012-2014)
Miller Thomson General Counsel (2012-2015)
Professional achievements & leadership
- The Best Lawyers in Canada, Trusts and Estates, 2014 – 2018
- The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, Estate & Personal Tax Planning, 2017 – 2018
- Martindale-Hubbell BV rated
- Represented investment dealers with respect to allegations of brokers’ negligence and breach of duty
- Represented the director of a public company alleged to have breached fiduciary duties to shareholders
- Intervened on behalf of a pension fund regarding the eligibility of member’s funds
- Acted for shareholders in oppression actions
Other cases include:
- Interpretation of trust instruments and wills
- Breach of duty by trustees
- Contested wills arising from lack of capacity or undue influence
- Contested wills arising from formal deficiencies
- Quantum merit claims
- Contested passing of accounts
- Cy près applications
- Negligence by executors or trustees
- Claims against estates by third parties
- Actions by or against charities
Selected Reported Decisions
- Re Kaptyn (2010) 102 OR (3d)1 (counsel for two major beneficiaries of a large estate; highly complex will interpretation issues, including the ademption of gifts)
- Chambers Estate v. Chambers, 2013 ONCA 511 (CanLII) (counsel for the Estate Trustee who sought to resign and who successfully prevented the named alternate Estate Trustee from being appointed in her place)
- Kaptyn Estate, Re., 2008 CarswellOnt 6071 (trial counsel for major beneficiaries as to whether testator had testamentary capacity at time of execution of codicil. Codicil found valid)
- Wronko v. Western Inventory Service Ltd. (2008), 65 C.C.E.L. (3d) 185 (Ont. C.A.) reversing (2006), 54 C.C.E.L. (3d) 50 (Ont. SCJ); Court of Appeal held that the client employee was entitled to insist on the employer’s adherence to the fundamental terms of an employment contract)
- Sport Hawk USA Inc. v. New York Islanders Hockey Club, 2008 CarswellOnt 2488 (successful motion on behalf of the defendant for an order that purported service of statement of claim was invalid, and requiring the parties to proceed to arbitration in New York)
- Archibald Estate, Re. (2007), 36 E.T.R. (3d) 219 (application by estate trustee for passing of accounts)
- Better Beef Ltd. v. MacLean (2006), 80 O.R. (3d) 689 (successful application by employer for judicial review of decision of Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal that release signed by employee upon termination was binding)
- Dumoulin v. Ontario,  O.J. No. 1233 (successful defence denying certification of toxic mould claim in relation to the Newmarket court house)
- Loblaw v. Loblaw,  W.D.F.L. 1675 (successfully defended an application by wife for order transferring husband’s public service pension plan to her)
- Hooper v. Hooper (2002), 213 D.L.R. (4th) 548 (Ont. C.A.) (successful appeal from a judgment the wife as equitable receiver of the husband’s pension benefits)
- Bloorview Childrens Hospital Foundation v. Bloorview MacMillan Centre (2002), 22 B.L.R. (3d) 182 (application by the Foundation for a declaration that it owned and controlled the capital of the foundation)
- YBM Magnex International Inc. (Re) (2003), OSCB 5285 (represented a director in an OSC prospection hearing concerning the alleged failure to make adequate prospectus disclosure)
- “Estate Litigation: Important Updates and Overview of Recent Law on Costs in Passing of Account Applications,” STEP Canada 15th National Conference (June 10-11, 2013)
- “Mental Capacity and Incapacity: What the Gift Planner Should Know,” 16th Annual Canadian Association of Gift Planners Conference (Niagara Falls, ON: April 22-24, 2009)
- “Use of Discovery Transcripts at Trial and Objections,” OBA (2009, 2008)
- “Protecting the Gift,” Canadian Association of Gift Planners National Conference, (Calgary: April 2006)
- Legacies: A Matter of Some Interest, 16 Est. & Tr. J. 305, 1997
- Ademption: Beware the Potential Failure of Gifts, Wealth Matters, Spring 2011
- Beware the Duty to Account for Assisting an Elderly Parent!, Wealth Matters, Winter 2008-2009
- Court of Appeal Rules on Employer’s Attempt to Alter Fundamental Term of Employment Contract, Labour and Employment Communiqué, November 13, 2008
- Dealing with Older Donors, OBA Charitable Thoughts, 2006
- Canadian Bar Association
- American Association of Justice
- The Advocates’ Society
- Medical Legal Society
- Lawyers’ Club
Bar admissions & education
- Ontario Bar, 1979
- LL.B., Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, 1977
- B.A. (honours), Trinity College, University of Toronto, 1974
Miller Thomson recognized in 2018 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
In the recently released 2018 edition of the Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory, 90 Miller Thomson lawyers across 35 areas of law have been recognized for their industry-leading advisory expertise. These rankings are the culmination of an extensive annual peer review process...
Miller Thomson recognized in 2017 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
In the recently released 2017 edition of the Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory, 79 Miller Thomson lawyers across 30 areas of law have been recognized for their industry-leading advisory expertise. These latest rankings are the culmination of an extensive annual peer...
Miller Thomson lawyers recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada 2017
126 Miller Thomson lawyers from across the country and in numerous areas of law have been recognized for their expertise in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada. This result is up from 122 lawyers ranked last year....
Miller Thomson recognized in 2014 Best Lawyers in Canada
We are pleased to announce that 80 Miller Thomson lawyers have been recognized in the 2014 edition of Best Lawyers in Canada (this is 15 more lawyers than last year). Seventeen lawyers are new to the list. Additionally, the following lawyers from...
Miller Thomson lawyers showcase expertise at STEP Canada Conference
Miller Thomson lawyers are participating at the 15th National STEP Canada Conference, which focuses on the latest developments in trust and estate practice, tax, trust law, trust administration, insurance and financial planning. Rachel Blumenfeld is the conference co-chair. The conference...
Michael Kerr speaks at the Adocates’ Society Will Challenge Advocacy for Estate Litigators
Michael Kerr is presenting at the Adocates’ Society “Will Challenge Advocacy for Estate Litigators”.
Rachel Blumenfeld and Michael Kerr present on November 20 on “Are Gift Planners Fiduciaries” for CAGP-Toronto Roundtable.
Rachel Blumenfeld and Michael Kerr present at the CAGP London on the topic “Capacity: When To Continue Discussion”.
Date: Friday, March 11, 2011 from 11:45 a.m. -1:30 p.m.Topic: Capacity: When to Continue DiscussionsSpeaker: Rachel Blumenfeld, Partner, Miller Thomson and Michael Kerr, Partner, Miller ThomsonLocation: Windermere Manor, London Download event brochure
Susan Manwaring, Rachel Blumenfeld, Michael Kerr, and Amanda Stacey
Miller Thomson hosts a complimentary accountants breakfast seminar in Toronto on November 12.
Lawyers from our firm will address a number of topics that we think will be both interesting and useful to you and your clients. The Westin Hotel 900 York Mills Road Toronto, Ontario M3B 3H2 Tel. 647.259.3238 AGENDA Breakfast: 7:30...
Ademption: Beware the Potential Failure of Gifts
Introduction Professionals involved in the preparation of Wills should be made aware of the potential consequences of the doctrine of ademption. Put simply, the doctrine provides that you cannot bequeath what you do not own. For example, if a testator’s Will...