Sean Fairhurst


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Office: Calgary

Main: (403) 693-4307

Fax: (403) 508-4349

Education & Qualifications

  • Alberta Bar (1993)
  • LLB (Alberta, 1992)
  • BA (Calgary, 1988)

Sean Fairhurst’s commercial litigation practice focuses on disputes in the oil and gas, agribusiness and construction sectors.

  • Counsel to an oil and gas company in defence of allegations of contamination of a land owner’s domestic and stock water wells from hydraulic fracturing operations.
  • Counsel to an architectural firm in defence of allegations that a building design caused the acceleration of a fire that resulted in a total loss.
  • Counsel to oil and gas exploration companies in litigation to determine the validity of petroleum and natural gas lease rights.
  • Counsel to producer of horticultural products in a product liability suit and an action to enforce rights under a surface lease for the cultivation and harvesting of peat moss.
  • Counsel to Alberta-based cooperative in CCAA proceedings to collect $6.8 million for construction costs and project management fees related to the construction of a horse-racing facility.
  • Counsel to a significant explorer and developer of coal bed methane gas in regulatory and litigation proceedings to determine ownership of Coalbed Methane Gas between the owner of the petroleum and natural gas rights and the owner of the coal estate.

Sean has represented major industry players in contractual disputes, disagreements over ownership of surface and subsurface rights, issues arising from construction projects and site remediation, and product liability claims. He has appeared before all levels of the Alberta courts, a wide range of regulatory tribunals and at private arbitrations.

Sean’s experience with insurance defence is broad, including coverage issues and disputes related to commercial general liability, life, health and disability, professional negligence, fire and automobile policies.

He counsels employers on preventive employment practices, procedure and policy manuals, severance obligations and dismissal. His experience in policy drafting includes Occupational Health & Safety compliance, negotiation of service and employment contracts, workplace accidents and human rights complaints. Sean has also represented a number of employers following the occurrence of serious workplace accidents.

  • Secretary, Board of Directors, Canadian Energy Law Foundation (2018)
  • Member, Organizing Committee, The Canadian Energy Law Foundation Energy Research Conference, Jasper (2017-present)
  • Past President, Calgary Bar Association (2016-2017)
  • President, Calgary Bar Association (2015-2016)
  • Member, Alberta Court of Appeal Centenary Celebration Committee (2014)
  • Coach, Calgary High School Mock Trial Competition (2013)
  • Guest Lecturer, Trial Advocacy Course, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary (2009-present)
  • Member, Executive Committee, Calgary Bar Association (2008-2017)
  • Guest Lecturer, Business Law (Employment Agreements), Faculty of Law, University of Calgary (2006-present)
  • Volunteer Instructor, Continuing Adult Education Program, Chinook Learning Services (1996-present)
  • “Post-Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.: Is Canada Poised to Become an Alternative Jurisdiction for Extraterritorial Human Rights Litigation?” with Zoë Thoms, Alberta Law Review, Volume 52, No. 2: Energy Law Edition (December 2014)
  • “Getting Value for Money,” Fifth Public Construction Contracting & Tendering, Federated Press (2014)
  • “Post-Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.: Is Canada Poised to Become An Alternative Jurisdiction for Extraterritorial Human Rights Litigation?”, Canadian Energy Law Foundation 53rd Annual Jasper Research Seminar (June 2014)
  • “Litigating the Issue of Condition of Property at Possession,” Canadian Bar Association (2014)
  • “Summary Disposition Applications and Summary Trials,” Chambers Advocacy Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers’ Association (2013)
  • Presenter, Legal Developments in Employment Law Expert Panel, Human Resources Association of Calgary Annual Legal Conference (2013)
  • Co-Chair, Occupational Health & Safety Fundamentals for In-house Counsel Conference, LESA (2011)
  • “Maintaining Solicitor-Client Privilege in Occupational Health & Safety Investigations,” Occupational Health & Safety Fundamentals for In-house Counsel Conference, LESA (2011)
  • “Employee or Independent Contractor – A Distinction With A Difference,” Employment and Labour Subsection, Canadian Bar Association Alberta (2012)
  • “Effective Closing Arguments,” Legal Education Society of Alberta (2010)
  • “Effective Internal Investigations,” Meritas Annual Litigation/Labour & Employment Conference (2009)
  • “Golden Parachute Agreements in a Downturn: Challenges When Dismissing Senior Executives,” Employee Terminations & Restructuring, Insight (2009)
  • “The Evolution of Just Cause and Wallace Damages,” Issues in Employment Law, Legal Education Society of Alberta (2009)
  • “Executive Employment and Independent Contractor Agreements,” Negotiating and Drafting Key Business Agreements, Canadian Institute (2007)
  • “How did We Get Here? Key Principles of the Duty to Accommodate,” Advanced Issues in the Duty to Accommodate, Insight (2007)
  • One of the Best Lawyers in Canada – Corporate and Commercial Litigation (since 2015)