Robert J. Simpson Q.C., LL.B., B.Sc., Partner

Robert obtained his engineering degree planning to continue with his education in law. This combination naturally led to Robert practicing construction law. Robert’s construction law practice spans all aspects of this field, from drafting project contracts, advising project participants on issue resolution and mitigation during the construction phase, defending and advancing contract claims for extra costs, cost overruns, delay and impact costs, dealing with builders’ lien claims, and resolving defective equipment and defective design disputes.

Robert has represented clients in the oil and gas, construction and development industries in all levels of court in Alberta, the Supreme Court of Ontario and the Federal Court of Canada. He also has extensive mediation and arbitration experience which includes acting on cases in Alberta, British Columbia, and the United States. Robert has also been retained as a mediator and arbitrator of technical disputes.

Robert’s construction law practice has resulted in him being involved in commercial disputes of all types and more particularly disputes arising from real estate and land development activities and expropriations, all of which require an understanding of the industry and ability to deal with technical expert evidence.

Professional Affiliations

Member of the Canadian Bar Association, Calgary Bar Association and Law Society of Alberta

Former Director, Can Learn Society for Persons with Learning Difficulties; 2005 to 2013 (Chairmans of the Baord 2010 to 2012)

Former Director, Country Hills Golf Club; 2009 to 2014 (Executive Committee 2010 to 2013; President 2012)

Former Scount/Venturers Leader

Construction Law

  • Analyzed the contract obligations and engineering contractor's performance of engineering, procurement and construction work to advance the Owner's claims arising from a cost overrun in excess of $1 billion and a delay in constructing the project of over one year.
  • Negotiated a multi-million dollar Guaranteed Maximum Price Construction Management Contract relating to the construction of a post-secondary science and laboratory complex.
  • One of a team of lawyers negotiating a multi-billion dollar EPC contract related to an LNG plant, concentrating on scope of work and technology license issues.
  • Consulted with a major oil and gas producer in the resolution of contractor claims related to the design and construction of a major oil sands upgrading facility.
  • Advised a pipeline company on the negotiation of a $500 Million EPCM contract related to a new large diameter, high pressure gas pipeline.
  • Successfully negotiated the settlement of a multi-million dollar contractor's claim for extra work and delay costs offset by the owner's claim for the cost of correcting deficiencies and completing the work.
  • Counsel for an Owner of an oil sands project providing advice on the settlement of several multi-million dollar claims.
  • Acted for an oil and gas company advancing claims arising from the rupture of a newly constructed gas pipeline.
  • Counsel for a contractor advancing claims for extra work, delay and breach of contract arising from the termination of the contract which settled through structured negotiations.
  • Counsel for a hotel owner in advancing a claim against the design architects and construction for the cost of reconstructing a defective building envelope which allowed water infiltration into the hotel. This claim settled in mediation on the eve of trial.
  • Provided counsel to a post-secondary educational institution in the negotiation and preparation of construction contracts for a $230 million campus expansion building.
  • Acted for a pipeline company advancing claims against its design engineers for the cost of remedial work done at its compressor stations due to a faulty design
  • Counsel for the project owner in the mediation of a $90 million construction dispute involving chemical plant. The dispute involved complex contract interpretation issues and a substantial delay claim which took over a year to resolve.
  • Successfully mediated the resolution of a construction contract dispute involving the owner, its engineer and two contractors./li>
  • Counsel for a pipeline company advancing a multi-million dollar claim for the cost of replacing defective valves manufactured by a foreign company./li>
  • Acted as counsel defending a delay and extra claim, which as well included building envelope issues which resulted in a six week trail in the Court of Queen’s Bench.
  • Acted for a party in a mediation of $20 million delay and additional cost claim arising from the construction of a pipeline.
  • Counsel in a two week arbitration, held in Chicago, Illinois, of a $6 million claim relating to a pipeline project which required the presentation of extensive technical evidence concerning soil conditions.
  • Negotiated a major equipment purchase of an LNG import facility.
  • Acting as counsel in a two week arbitration of a $15 million claim for additional payment related to a pipeline project which was again held in Chicago, Illinois. This case required the extensive review of the information provided to bidders concerning site conditions and contract interpretation issues concerning the unit price payment terms of the contract.
  • Acted as counsel to a party in an arbitration of delay claims and additional cost claims arising from the dismantling of an oil refinery in British Columbia.
  • Advising the project owner on and negotiation the terms of the architectural consulting agreement and construction contracts for a $25 million research facility.
  • The preparation of all engineering consulting agreements, major equipment procurement agreements and construction contracts required for the construction of a $4 billion, grass roots, pipeline project.
  • Acted as counsel to the project manager and designer involved in a dispute with the project owner concerning cost overrun, delays and responsibility to obtain permits in respect of a hydro electric project.
  • Counsel to Syncrude Canada Ltd. In the mediation of Syncrude’s claim brought against Stearns Catalytic for the cost of repairing Coker 8-2 which was destroyed in a fire that occurred in August 1984. Also, acted as counsel for Syncrude Canada Ltd. In the presentation of evidence at trial relating to the critical path and construction schedule for the rebuild of Coker 8-2 and production capabilities and reliability issues relating to the operation of Syncrude’s Coker 8-2, arising from the same event.
  • Provided legal advice that led to the resolution of claims made against the architects and engineering firms arising from design errors on the design of the Walter C. MacKenzie Hospital in Edmonton.
  • Provided legal advice to resolve lien claims, surety performance bond claims and delay claims arising out of the construction of the Calgary Olympic Saddledome.

Commercial Law

  • Acted for a major US refiner in a dispute concerning the enforceability of a pipeline transportation service agreement
  • Counsel for a national oil company in a right-of-first-refusal dispute involving an oil and gas property
  • Counsel for an oil and gas company in a dispute involving an oil and gas lease agreement
  • Acted for a minority shareholder in a share buyout and oppression action

Real Estate/Development Disputes

  • Acting as counsel for a developer involved in a dispute concerning allegations of a breach of the joint venture agreement
  • Counsel for a purchaser of development land in a contract termination, return of deposit case which was resolved at trial
  • Acted for a joint venture partner involved in the design and development of a condominium project in a claim arising from a breach of fiduciary duty and the joint venture agreement by the managing joint venture partner
  • Counsel for a limited partner in a real estate development limited partnership dispute
  • Acted in several rent review arbitrations
  • Appeared before the Alberta Court of Appeal to argue leave to appeal from Subdivision and Development Appeal Board decisions

Expropriation

  • Counsel for a landowner whose property was expropriated for a park
  • Counsel for a business owner whose business closed operations on being expropriated
  • Acted as counsel in Gimbel v The Province of Alberta appearing before the Court of Appeal on two occasions and the Land Compensation Board on three occasions which resulted in the claimants being awarded more than double the compensation offered by the Province
  • Represented property owners in an expropriation claim against the City of Calgary at the Land Compensation Board which resulted in 100 per cent recovery of the compensation claimed and the payment of penalty interest. This decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal.
  • Acted for a church expropriated by the Province that was resolved through negotiations which resulted in the church receiving five times the original offer
  • Acted for a business owner in an expropriation by the City of Calgary and successfully recovered the value of the business

The Use of Performance Specifications, October 2009

What to Do When Construction Projects Go Bad

The Rules and Legal Responsibilities of Project Designers, Engineers and Managers used by Athabasca

University in its Law and Procurement course

Lessons Learned from a Project that Went Off the Rails, for internal distribution within a worldwide oil company

Advanced Guide to Effectively Negotiating, Structuring and Drafting a Construction Contract

Critical Provisions Necessary in a Construction Contract

Best Lawyers in Canada 2014 as Calgary Construction Law Lawyer of the Year

Recognized in Best Lawyers in Canada 2013 to 2016 as a leading lawyer in Construction Law

Recognized by The Canadian Legal LEXPERT Directory 2009 to 2016 as leading practitioner in the area of Construction Law

Appointed Queen’s Counsel, 2007

Director, Can Learn Society for Persons with Learning Difficulties; 2005 to present (Chairman of the Board 2010 to 2012)

Director, Country Hills Golf Club; 2009 to present (Executive Committee 2010 to present; President 2012)

Former Scout/Venturers Leader

Contact Information

403 776 0521

Areas of Expertise

Construction law

Commercial disputes

Real estate/development disputes

Expropriation

Year of Call

1981 (Ontario and Alberta)

Education

Queen’s University, LL.B., 1979

Queen’s University, B.Sc. (Civil Engineering), 1976