Tom Curry, Brendan Miller, Alan Honner, Eva Chipiuk, Paul Champ, Keith Wilson, Bath Shéba Van Den Berg.
These are all names avid followers of the public order emergency commission will recognize. All of these individuals are lawyers representing multiple parties who have standing during the Inquiry, meaning that they have the option to cross-examine the witnesses who testify.
This article will look in depth at who the lawyers for freedom convoy organizers are, what their individual backgrounds are, and a lot more.
Freedom Corp (Freedom Convoy organizers)
The counsel for Tamara Lich, Danny Bulford, Chris Barber, and other key figures in the freedom convoy, is probably the one that made headlines the most since the commission started, as they represented the seemingly most controversial witnesses of the inquiry.
Freedom Corp lawyers, alongside the lawyers from The Democracy Fund, and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, are the ones representing the interests of convoy organizers, and the main ones focusing on whether or not the use of the Emergencies Act was lawful and necessary.
The lawyers representing Freedom Corp are Eva Chipiuk, Keith Wilson, Brendan Miller, and Bath Shéba Van Den Berg.
The counsel decided to adopt a strategy different from the other parties present, by basing themselves on a British method, where the tasks are divided between solicitors and barristers. Wilson and Chipiuk took on the roles of solicitors, while Van Den Berg and Miller decided to act as barristers.
As the Edmonton-based law firm Emery Jamieson LLP, puts it, solicitors and barristers have different roles. The barrister will mainly handle matters inside the courtroom, examining witnesses and conducting cross-examination, while the solicitors will handle primarily matters outside the courtroom, review documents, and communicate with the barristers.
“A barrister, more commonly referred to as a litigator, is a lawyer who represents clients in court, mediation, or arbitration. Barristers are also involved in matters outside the courtroom which relate to the litigation process, such as drafting court documents. If you are involved in a lawsuit, a barrister will handle the court related matters. A solicitor is someone who performs legal work outside the courtroom related to transactional matters, often in the business or corporate world. Solicitor work could include drafting wills, drafting contracts, business mergers and acquisitions, real estate transactions, corporate matters, and so on.”
Prior to working with Lich and other key figures of the Freedom Convoy, Keith Wilson became involved with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms after his wife became “aware” of government overreach issues facing Canadians, under Justin Trudeau, as he explained in his testimony.
Wilson runs his own law firm, Wilson Law Office, and is known for having consistently represented David against Goliath throughout his career.
Eva Chipiuk, on the other hand, had a very interesting career and life prior to representing the likes of Tamara Lich and Tom Marazzo. Chipiuk was a yoga instructor, as well as a lawyer.
She holds a Bachelor of Science, a Law Degree, and a Master of Law in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). She studied at the University of Alberta, and at the University of Ottawa, in the same city where the Emergencies Act Inquiry is being held.
Chipiuk explains on her website that she was diagnosed with “pancreatic cancer” in 2010, which caused her life to “take an unexpected turn.”
“In March of 2012, I took a break from law and traveled the world to focus on my wellness,” she added. She also stated that her diverse experiences “have shaped [her] passion for the law and particularly for defending civil liberties and the rights and freedoms of Canadians.”
Then comes Brendan Miller, one of the two lawyers for Freedom Corp who cross-examines witnesses appearing in front of the commission almost daily.
Miller comes from Alberta, and is a “litigation and appellate lawyer in the areas of regulatory, public, constitutional, administrative, civil, commercial, criminal and international law.”
In addition to practicing law, Miller also teaches constitutional law at Wilfrid Laurier University. He became popular in recent weeks as he has been consistently cross-examining witnesses, and often provoking what users on Twitter call “mic-drop moments.”
He has also refused to do any media interviews during the inquiry. When asked questions by journalists on camera, Miller answers the way a hockey trainer would.
Finally in the team of four lawyers one finds Bath Shéba van den Berg, who is an associate with Foster LLP, a law firm located in Calgary Alberta.
Ms. van den Berg has an interesting past. She is an officer in the British army reserves. She had multiple roles through her tenure of ten years so far, from reconnaissance, to being a rule of law advisor.
She studied at the University of Carleton, located in Canada’s national capital, where she obtained a Bachelors’ Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice with a concentration in law and a minor in political science. Ms. van den Berg graduated in 2006, and received an LL.B and an LL.M in London and Leiden, respectively.
Before representing Freedom Corp during the Emergency Measures Act Inquiry, van den Berg traveled across the world, filling multiple roles, in various types of professions. Her LinkedIn account showcases more than 20 past employment details.
Through various organizations, she worked with NATO, foreign militaries, managed three national projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Evidence, Coordination & Analysis Programme), Nigeria (Justice For All) and Afghanistan (Comprehensive Agricultural and Rural Development Facility) for the Department for International Development in the United Kingdom, was a political affairs officer for the Government of Canada, worked for the defence at the United Nations International Criminal for the former Yugoslavia, and even did journalism with a paper in London, England.
All have different backgrounds, and combine their skill sets extremely well, making sure to keep the focus of the Emergencies Act Inquiry on what it should be: answering the question if the Emergencies Act was justified and necessary.