Megan Rehill Ellis* QC
Megan Ellis QC is a senior British Columbia litigator with extensive experience in trial and appeal work. This includes precedent setting cases in both family law and civil claims for sexual abuse and assault.
Ms. Ellis has practiced family law for more than 25 years. She assists clients dealing with the breakdown of a relationship to better understand their rights, obligations and options, so that they can make informed decisions about how to proceed to a fair resolution. Ms. Ellis is a skilled negotiator and encourages her clients to pursue out of court settlements when possible. Where clients are unable to come to an agreement, she provides effective courtroom representation.
Ms. Ellis’ family law experience resulted in her being asked to participate in a select panel of senior family law lawyers that was consulted by the Ministry of the Attorney General of BC on development of the new Family Law Act.
Civil Claims for Sexual Assault
and Personal Injury
Ms. Ellis is one of the first lawyers in Canada to devote a significant part of her practice to pursuing claims on behalf of adult survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse. Drawing on her background working in rape crisis centres, she was counsel in a number of groundbreaking cases which challenged evidentiary, procedural and substantive impediments to victims obtaining redress for their injuries.
In 1992 she was co-counsel in the first case in Canada to acknowledge that limitation periods should be extended to accommodate the particular challenges faced by sexual abuse victims, opening the door to claims being brought by adults abused as children. This case led to amendments to the BC Limitation Act which removed the limitation period for victims of sexual abuse and assault, placing BC at the forefront of legal developments in this area.
For more than two decades Ms. Ellis has successfully represented women and men pursuing claims against family members, neighbours, teachers, doctors, priests, associations, churches, and governments. She has also advised estates in relation to claims brought against deceased persons.
She was a member of the Project Committee on Damages for Sexual Assault for the BC Law Institute (View report: Civil Remedies for Sexual Assault) and of the Institutional Abuse Study Panel for the Law Commission of Canada (View report: Restoring Dignity: Responding to Child Abuse in Canadian Institutions).
Ms. Ellis is adept at developing creative legal arguments to address unique circumstances, and her courtroom advocacy skills have resulted in some of the largest damages awards for this type of personal injury in Canada. Ms. Ellis is listed as a leading personal injury lawyer in Best Lawyers International®.
Awards and Honours
- UBC Law Alumni Award of Distinction, 2012
- Appointed Queen’s Counsel, 2008
- Trial Lawyers’ Association of BC (TLABC) Bar Award, 2004
- Consistently recognized in Best Lawyers International® as a leading Canadian personal injury lawyer
Lectures, Presentations and Workshops
- Guest lecturer, “Tort law, sexual assault and consent”, Allard School of Law, October, 2017
Presenter, “Advanced Ethics: Discussion for Senior Advocates in Poverty and Family Law”, Provincial Training Conference, October, 2016
Guest Instructor, Winning Advocacy Workshop, CLEBC, Vancouver, July, 2016
- Presenter, “Consent & Sexual Assault”, Allard School of Law, Vancouver, February, 2015
- Presenter, “Equality Values in Family Law”, Westcoast Leaf/TLABC, Vancouver, February, 2014
- Presenter, “The New Family Law Act; Gearing Up Your Practice”, CLEBC, Vancouver, September, 2012
- Guest Instructor, Winning Advocacy Workshop, CLEBC, Vancouver, July, 2012
- Panelist, “What You Need to Know Today About the New Family Law Act”, CLE-TV, June, 2012
- Presenter, “Civil Claims for Sexual Assault and Abuse”, Wheels, Wings, Water and More: Non-automobile Injury Claims, TLABC, Vancouver, March, 2011
- Presenter, “Civil Claims for Assault in the Family Law Context”, TLABC, Vancouver, September, 2010
- Panelist, “Advanced Topics in Family Law”, Continuing Legal Education of BC, Vancouver, May, 2010
- Guest Lecturer, UBC Law School, January, 2010
Publications and Research
- Contributing author, Family Law Act Transition Guide, CLEBC, September, 2012
- “Invisible Strings: Considerations for Judicial Case Conferences”, paper written with Patricia Bond and Zara Suleman, May, 2009
- “Costs in Family Chambers”, Mastering Family Chambers, Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, October, 2008
Professional and Community Involvement, Past and Present
- Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, 2014 – present
- Volunteer, Elephant Rehabilitation Project, Heuy Pakoot, Thailand
- Member, JP Boyd on Family Law Advisory Committee, clicklaw.bc.ca, from 2013
- Member, Trial Lawyers of B.C. Board of Governors, 2009 – 2012
- Member, Trial Lawyers of B.C. Nominations Committee, 2004 – 2012
- Legal Advisory Committee, PIVOT, 2011 – present
- Volunteer teacher, Olives Rehabilitation Centre, Mombassa, Kenya, 2010
- Member, Advisory Committee, Canadian Centre for International Justice, 2008 – 2009
- Volunteer, ASVO Turtle Conservation Project, Costa Rica, 2008
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* Denotes a law corporation.