William E. J. Skelly


Vancouver / Services provided by William E. J. Skelly Law Corporation

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Education & Qualifications

  • British Columbia Bar (1988)
  • Manitoba Bar (1980)
  • LLB (Manitoba, 1979)

William Skelly focuses on restructuring and insolvency law, commercial lending and real estate. He is widely recognized for his experience with restructuring national and international companies by several legal publications.

  • Acted for The Bank of Nova Scotia in connection with a bison ranch in Northern BC and dealt with applications and appeals under the Farm Debt Mediation Act
  • Acted for Willmington Trust ($400 million) in Catalyst Forest Products’ Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act filing
  • Acted for an unsecured creditor ($123 million) in connection with Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act filing
  • Acted for Royal Bank of Canada ($35 million) in receivership of large commercial real estate development on Vancouver Island
  • Acted for Ernst & Young in a receivership of a multi-unit residential development in British Columbia interior
  • Acted for California receiver in Ponzi scheme (US$80 million) to locate fraudster and assets
  • Acted for Alvarez & Marsal in respect of a receivership of a sawmill in northern British Columbia
  • Acted for Callidus in CCAA proceeding of a large tungsten mine in NWT
  • Acted for Ernst and Young in receivership of five-star hotel and residences

An accomplished corporate and commercial lawyer, Bill has worked with many of Canada’s largest financial institutions and court officers in the insolvency and restructuring area. He is a leading practitioner in ABL and CMBS financing.

Bill served as a Provincial Council member of the Canadian Bar Association for a number of years and remains a member of the insolvency law, business law, banking law and real estate subsections of the CBA’s British Columbia branch. 

Currently past chairman of the Turnaround Management Association (TMA), Bill has been actively involved with the association for more than two decades. He has the distinction of being first Canadian to hold the chairman position in TMA’s history. His past roles with the organization have also included international vice president.

He is a member of the Insolvency Institute of Canada (IIC), the country’s premier private sector insolvency organization. Membership in the IIC is by invitation only.

William is consistently rated as “repeatedly recommended” in the annual Lexpert survey. He has been recognized in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory in the category of road and rail transportation, and was named one of Canada’s leading lawyers in the area of asset-based financing in The Best Lawyers in Canada publication.

  • Past Chairman, Turnaround Management Association (present)
  • Chairman, Turnaround Management Association (2008)
  • International Vice President, Turnaround Management Association (2007)
  • Fundraiser, Kidney Foundation of Canada
  • Fundraiser, United Way
  • Fundraiser, Ducks Unlimited Canada
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association
  • Member, INSOL International
  • Member, Insolvency Institute of Canada
  • Member, Law Society of British Columbia
  • Member, Law Society of Manitoba
  • Member, Turnaround Management Association
  • Author, “Who Bears the Risk of Cheque Fraud? The SCC Weighs In” (December 6, 2017) 
  • Author, “Using the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act as an Encore to Bankruptcy” (July 2, 2021) 
  • Author, “Plans of Compromise Not a Prerequisite for Refinancing, Says B.C. Court of Appeal” (February 2, 2022) 
  • Author, “Bankruptcy Doesn’t Invalidate Existing Contracts, BCSC Rules” (July 19, 2022) 
  • Author, “An Encore: Annulling the Bankruptcy Proceedings” (February 8, 2023) 
  • Author, “How Bill C-228 May Adversely Impact Commercial Lending” (February 17, 2023) 
  • Author, “Saving Cannabis Inventory From Going Up In Smoke” (September 20, 2023) 
  • Author, “Not So Fast – Audit Restricts Appointment of Monitor” (February 22, 2024) 
  • Author, “Mind the Gap… You CAN Withdraw a Notice of Intention to Make a Proposal” (March 4, 2024) 
  •  Author, “A New and Bold Decision of the Ontario Supreme Court: Who Made Off with the Money,” Insolvency Insider, Journal of Corporate Recovery (2017) 
  • Contributor, Lexis Practice Advisor on Insolvency and Restructuring, regarding Forbearance Agreements
  • Co-author, “To Forbear (or Not) – The Inevitable Question,” Annual Review of Insolvency Law (February 2013)
  • Presenter, “Real Estate Woes,” Annual Review of Insolvency Law (February 2013)
  • Presenter, “Partnership Agreements,” Major Business Agreements Conference, Insight Information (September 2011)
  • Author, “Traditional Turnarounds Severely Hampered by Credit Clampdown,” Financier Worldwide Magazine, Iss. 73 (January 2009)
  • Co-author, “Turnarounds – What’s Next?” Special Report, Turnaround & Corporate Renewal, Financial Worldwide Magazine (September 2008)
  • Presenter, “Perfection of Personal Property Security Interests from a Canadian Perspective and Cross-Border Insolvency Issues,” The Continuing Legal Education Committee, Washington State Bar Association (2001)
  • Presenter, “Rights and Remedies of the Debtor and Other Parties: A Comparison of Canadian PPSA Legislation,” Canadian Bar Association (1995)


  • Named a Leading Practitioner, Transportation (Road & Rail), Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (2024)
  • Named a Leading Practitioner, Asset-Based Lending, Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (2020-2023)
  • Selected by Peers for Inclusion, Asset-Based Lending, The Best Lawyers in Canada (2015-present)
  • Selected by Peers for Inclusion, Banking and Finance Law, The Best Lawyers in Canada (2021-present)
  • Recognized as a Top Lawyer, Restructuring & Insolvency, Legal 500 Canada (2015; 2017)
  • Named One of Canada’s Leading Lawyers, Global Mining, Lexpert (2013)
  • Named a Leading Practitioner, Transportation, Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (2012; 2015-2017; 2019-2021)
  • Recognized as a Top Lawyer, insolvency and Restructuring, Who’s Who Legal (2012)
  • Hall of Fame Inductee, Turnaround Management Association (2013)