Name and Title
Heather Paterson
Year of Call

2005 (Ontario)

  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Advocates' Society

Heather Paterson Head shot.A recent ruling that found the city of Calgary liable for the injuries a man suffered during a brutal beating at a rapid transit walkway may not hold much sway over future cases involving duty of care, Toronto civil litigator Heather Paterson tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Paterson, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP who has an active municipal defence practice, says each case would have to be adjudicated based on its own unique facts.

She says the circumstances in the 2007 case, which involved a 20-minute beating of a man on an aerial walkway linking two Calgary public transit stations, amounted to a "perfect storm of everything that could go wrong."

"And it did, but it's hard to know how that will translate for cases that happen in 2018 because you're going to deal with very different circumstances. Each location will be different, as will the facts and particulars of the incident," Paterson says.

The case, which is being appealed, involves a young man who was attacked Jan. 1, 2007 as he walked through an aerial walkway linking two Light Rail Transit stations. The sustained assault caused significant injuries and was captured by video surveillance.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.


Heather Paterson Head shot.When public and corporate interests collide, the former will often override the latter —particularly when an element of safety is involved, Toronto civil litigator Heather Paterson tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“Municipalities’ decisions aren’t immune to challenge, but the bylaw must have a proper purpose and its subject matter has to be a municipal issue,” Paterson, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, who has an active municipal defence practice. “It has to be something that’s in the public interest and in response to citizen’s needs.”

She points to a recent situation in a small Quebec municipality where a company had a permit to do some oil and gas exploration, but the village feared the drilling would negatively impact its drinking water.

Ristigouche Sud-Est, just north of the New Brunswick border, passed a bylaw creating a two-kilometre no-drill zone around potable water sources in the community. The company challenged the municipality’s authority to pass it and launched a $1-million lawsuit, arguing the village hastily adopted the new law, illegally targeting it and making it impossible for it to drill, Paterson says.

“Municipalities have very broad discretion to enact new laws, provided they’re considered to be within their purview of authority and the decision impacting the bylaw is reasonable,” she says. “In this case, the municipality had an obligation to its citizens to provide safe drinking water.”

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.


Heather Paterson Head shot.Public consultation might have helped to diffuse a conflict between the City of Markham and an area resident who hoped to donate the sculpture of a cow on stilts, Toronto civil litigator Heather Paterson tells AdvocateDaily.com.

But residents’ consternation over Charity, the stainless-steel cow sculpture which stands 7.6-metres high, prompted the removal of the statue. As a result, the would-be donor sued the municipality for $4 million and sought an injunction to prevent the municipality from moving it, says Paterson who was not involved in the case, and comments generally.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice denied the injunction and the sculpture was ultimately moved.

“I think in the end the judge’s reasoning was, you can’t force people to take a gift,” says Paterson, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, who has an active municipal defence practice.

In his decision, Justice P. Andras Schreck of the Ontario Superior Court wrote that the donor did not meet the well-established tests that the question be serious and that the party seeking the injunction will suffer irreparable harm if it is not granted.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.


Heather Paterson Head shot. Law is all about people for Toronto civil litigator Heather Paterson.

While disputes in court can sometimes get ugly, Paterson, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, tells AdvocateDaily.com that maintaining good relationships with colleagues and clients is one of her top priorities.

“In practice, you have to develop good and friendly working relationships with people, and hopefully you’ll work with them for a while,” she says. “That’s important for your own clients because they have to feel comfortable taking advice and giving instructions.”

Paterson also adopts a similar approach to her opponents in the courtroom.

“There are times when you have to be forceful, but it’s usually a friendly, collegial relationship between counsel,” she says. “Law is not a very big profession, even if it might feel that way sometimes. You come across the same people over and over again, so it’s really easy to trash a relationship if you’re not careful. A few missteps and your reputation can come tumbling down.”   

A large proportion of Paterson’s files involve insurance work on behalf of municipalities, defending mostly personal injury cases. In addition, she has developed a niche in professional liability defence work on behalf of architects accused of wrongdoing following building structure or design failures.

“It’s a fascinating area, and extremely varied,” Paterson says. “I’ve learned a great deal about things I knew nothing about, such as roofing trusses, glass balconies and the importance of the right shading co-efficient of window glass.

“But it’s nice to still be learning at this stage, and they’re great people to work with,” she adds.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the rest of the story.

More About

Heather, who articled with Shibley Righton LLP at the beginning of her career, is a Partner in the firm’s civil litigation practice.

She graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, and after completing the paralegal program at Seneca College, was employed as a real estate clerk with a prominent Toronto law firm. At the same time, she worked on her post-graduate Certificate in Criminology at the University of Toronto and also completed a Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution at York University.

While attending law school at Queen’s University, Heather was involved with the Legal Aid Clinic and Criminal Law Association, and was part of the school’s law team in the American Bar Association Client Counselling Competition. Upon graduation from Queen’s in 2004, she was a recipient of the Denis Marshall Award for outstanding contribution to the law school community.

Heather is a member of the Canadian Bar Association, The Advocates’ Society, Canadian Defence Lawyers and The Lawyers' Club.

Contact Information

T: 416.214.5208
F: 416.214.5408


Queen's University, LL.B., 2004
University of Western Ontario - B.A.