Name and Title
Sean Lawler
Year of Call

1997 (Ontario)

  • Ontario Bar Association

Although it makes sense that the Divisional Court referred the issue of whether a former justice of the peace should have to pay his own legal costs back to the review panel for reconsideration, the 'egregious' facts in this case will likely result in the man paying his own costs, Toronto litigator Sean Lawler tells Law Times.

As Law Times reports, Justice of the Peace Errol Massiah was removed from office in April 2015 after a second panel of the Ontario Justice of the Peace Review Council found his behaviour in two provincial courthouses demonstrated a “pattern of inappropriate conduct toward women in the justice system.”

As the article notes, Massiah's first hearing before the Justice of the Peace Review Council ended in 2012 with a 10-day suspension without pay "after the panel found his sexual innuendos and comments on the appearance of court clerks made them uncomfortable."

This article appeard on AdvocateDaily.com.  Please click here to view the full story.


Although some lawyers are calling for a lower bar when it comes to awarding costs against the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) in disciplinary matters, the regulator’s public interest mandate should mean that it is ordered to pay costs only in extreme instances, Toronto litigator Sean Lawler tells Law Times.

As the article notes, one lawyer who acts for licensees facing disciplinary proceedings argues the bar for awarding costs against LSUC should come down, “in order to force the regulator to think harder about which cases it prosecutes.”

This article appeard on AdvocateDaily.com as well as in The Law Times.  To read the full article please lick here.


Toronto estate litigator Sean Lawler says the lesson learned from a recent Court of Appeal decision is that the court will be less inclined to protect an estate trustee who pursues his or her own interests rather than the interests of the estate and beneficiaries.

The matter of Brown v. Rigsby, 2016 ONCA 521, involved a family at odds over their mother’s estate. The appellants, Janet Rigsby and Paul Shackleton, were the estate trustees and attorneys pursuant to a power of attorney granted to them by their mother. Three of their siblings challenged their handling of matters, and while close to $160,000 was spent on lawyers by both sides, the parties eventually settled out of court shortly before the commencement of the trial in 2014.

However, the parties were unable to agree on the costs of the action and agreed that entitlement of the parties to costs should be determined by the court.

This story appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.  Please click here for the full Article.


Toronto estate litigator Sean Lawler says lawyers drafting wills should take careful notes in the event there is a challenge later on.

Lawler, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP, says detailed notes are crucial if it’s alleged the testator lacked capacity or if there is suspected undue influence.

“If there is a will challenge, the litigants will want to have the best evidence of how the testator communicated his or her intentions,”

Please click here for the full story


The Shibley Righton Labour and Employment Law eBulletin, May 2012

More About

Sean is a partner at Shibley Righton LLP whose practice is evenly divided among estate litigation, professional negligence, commercial litigation and professional discipline. The full breadth of his experience also includes contractual and shareholder disputes, real estate litigation, employment matters, and debt collection.

He has appeared before the Ontario Court of Appeal, Superior Court of Justice, Ontario Court of Justice, Tax Court of Canada, and Federal Court of Canada. In addition, he has appeared before  Discipline Tribunals of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, and the Ontario Association of Architects.

Prior to joining the firm, Sean was with John F. Evans Q.C. in Hamilton.  He was also a part-time Crown Attorney prosecuting offences in the Ontario Court of Justice. Sean obtained his law degree from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, and has a B.Sc. from St. Michael’s College at the UofT, where he graduated with High Distinction.

A member of the Ontario Bar Association and Executive Member of the OBA Estates & Trusts Section, Sean has published articles in Deadbeat (the newsletter of the OBA’s Estates & Trusts Section), The Hamilton Spectator, Young Lawyers’ Division Newsletter, and Hamilton Law Association Newsletter, among others. He has spoken on such subjects as Estate Litigation, professional negligence, and the law of evidence. Sean is very active in the legal community and was Chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Division. He has travelled extensively around the world and is an avid runner who often begins his day with a 10K run to work.

Sean is married with two boys.  He lives in Etobicoke.

Contact Information

T: 416.214.5283
F: 416.214.5483


University of Toronto, LL.B., 1995
University of Toronto, B.Sc. (High Distinction), 1992