Michael Doerksen
Michael Doerksen
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Michael Doerksen is an experienced research lawyer who helps clients requiring complex legal analysis. His practice has a particular focus on insurance coverage issues including automobile liability, municipal and general liability, director and officer liability, professional errors and omissions coverage, casualty coverage and cargo and transportation coverage. His experience includes a wide variety of commercial disputes ranging from property development issues to construction disputes and contract interpretation.

He has prepared written submissions in cases before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court, the Alberta Court of King's Bench, Alberta Court of Appeal, the British Columbia Supreme Court and various administrative tribunals in Alberta.

As Field Law’s research lawyer, Michael’s clients and colleagues look to him to thoroughly analyze legal issues and make the analysis accessible. Describing himself as having an "academic disposition", his aptitude for research and writing makes him the go-to person when clients need a comprehensive and knowledgeable legal opinion or a well-crafted written submission for a court, arbitration panel or tribunal. With more than 20 years of experience, Michael offers his clients the proficiency needed to write effective submissions that have received excellent feedback from the courts. Michael’s clients appreciate that his legal opinions consistently provide a candid and forthright assessment of the pros and cons of the client’s legal position.

Value to Clients

"In most litigation you can’t tell the client with 100 per cent conviction where the dispute will end up. But what I can do is to dig deep into an issue and offer some concrete recommendations clients can be confident in." One of Michael’s clients says of his insurance coverage advice: "You are full of wonderful information that makes my work seamless."

Outside the Office

His love of the fiddle keeps him busy. "I started playing when I was young. When I came to Field Law I found other musicians here and I became part of the firm band."

Canadian Bar Association Alberta, Research Law Section (South)
Law Society of Alberta
Canadian Bar Association Alberta, Research Law Section (South)
Canadian Bar Association Alberta, Research Law Section (South)
Canadian Bar Association Alberta, Research Law Section (South)
Canadian Bar Association Alberta, Research Law Section (South)
Canadian Bar Association Alberta, Research Law Section (South)
Youth Central Society
Board of Directors
2020 - Present

Brosseau Estate v Dubarry Estate, 2022 ABQB 60

  • Cancellation of aviation liability insurance policy and insurable interest.

King County (a Washington Municipal Corporation) v Gelhaus, 2022 ABQB 2

  • Letters of Request of Washington state court seeking evidence from Alberta residents.

Lafferty v Co-operators General Insurance Co, 2021 ABCA 359

  • Successful defence of an appeal on insurer's limitations defence. 

Keyland Development Corporation v Rocky View (Municipal District No 44), 2016 ABQB 735

  • Successful summary judgment for municipality in action for negligent processing of development and subdivision applications.

Primewest Energy Inc v Texacana Turbines Inc, 2016 ABQB 715

  •  Successful response to applications for summary judgment and dismissal for delay.
March 2024 - 7 min read
Ontario Court Addresses Important, Recurring Issues in Complex Liability Coverage Disputes
The Court of Appeal (i) affirmed time-on-risk as the correct method for allocating the costs of defence between insurers when claims span many years, (ii) affirmed that insurers are not obligated to reimburse their insureds for the cos...
February 2023 - 5 min read
The Consequences of Fraud + Wilful Falsehood in Auto Insurance Claims
The Court confirmed that a willfully false statement made by an insured to the insurer can result in the insurer denying all types of recovery to the insured.  The Alberta Court of Appeal describes its new decis...
March 16, 2021
Coffee + Counsel: Alberta Automobile Insurance, Recent Reforms + Case Law
Q+A Session
Join Field Law for another edition of Coffee + Counsel, a complimentary series that brings you together with a few of our lawyers for an unscripted chat about legal issues pertinent to automobile insurers in Alberta. Your questions guide the discussion...
June 2020
A Provincial Twist on the Emergency Suspension of Limitation Periods
Canadian Underwriter
June 2020
Navigating Business Interruption Claims Due to COVID-19
Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce
May 2020
The Limits of Insurance Coverage in a Pandemic
CBA National Magazine Online
May 2020
Navigating Business Interruption Claims Due to COVID-19
CBA Alberta Insurance Sub-Section (North)
April 15, 2020
Navigating Business Interruption Claims Due to COVID-19
COVID-19 will result in a big surge in business interruption claims. Get ahead of the curve by getting up to speed on the key issues you will need to know to deal with those claims. Presented by Mike Doerksen and Angela Beierbach, this webinar will pro...
April 2020
UPDATE: Alberta Limitations Under the Insurance Act
On April 2, 2020, Field Law reported that the limitations periods in various statutes had been suspended due to the impact of COVID-19. We noted that certain statutes were not included in the suspension order including the Insurance Act. Fiel...
August 2019
Case Summary: Merino v. ING Insurance
Defence + Indemnity
The Ontario Court of Appeal held that an auto insurer cannot void a policy for any material misrepresentation, including as to ownership. An insurer wishing to get out of an auto policy for misrepresentation must terminate the policy on notice, which d...
April 3, 2019
Staying Current with Auto Liability Claims in Alberta
Join Field Law's Jane Freeman and Michael Doerksen for a seminar discussing:  Reserving Rights and Alberta Auto Coverage Defences  An overview of the major types of coverage defences of the auto insurer under Alberta's stand...
November 2018
No Appeal of the Cardinal Decision: SEF 44 Coverage and Automobile Used Without Consent
Insurance Alert
On November 15, 2018 the Supreme Court of Canada denied an application for leave to appeal the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in Cardinal v Alberta Motor Association Insurance Company, 2018 ABCA 69 (Cardinal).In Cardinal, the insurer, AMA, iss...

Helping clients with plain language policy writing

  • The firm’s client occupies a specialized market in property and liability insurance in Alberta. The client was in the process developing a new wording for its property and business interruption insurance. The client came to Michael for legal support because of his familiarity with the client’s existing policy wording, experience in providing coverage analysis involving that wording and familiarity with the client’s specialized market. The client’s objective was a clear, rational and intuitive policy wording. Michael worked with the client’s primary drafter to develop a new policy wording that addressed the client’s insuring objectives in clear and accessible language and met the requirements of Alberta insurance law. The client remarks: "I am pleased with Michael’s consultative approach to our project. We were able to address policy wording challenges in an effective manner because of the open dialogue followed by his research and presentation of realistic and actionable options to each issue I raised."

Using legal research to identify opportunities

  • The firm acted for an Alberta municipality and its liability insurer in a factually complex lawsuit brought by a real estate developer against the municipality. The lawsuit arose from a residential real estate development. Working with one of Field’s leading insurance litigation partners, Michael’s legal research helped identify an opportunity to shorten the lawsuit by pursuing summary judgment on specific issues. Michael took the lead in preparing court materials supporting a summary judgment application, including affidavits and written arguments on behalf of the client. Following a three-day hearing in 2016 a Queen’s Bench Justice’s decision (reported at 2016 ABQB 735) dismissed all claims, sparing the clients the expense and inconvenience of a lengthy trial.
University of British Columbia, 1998, Bachelor of Laws
University of Toronto, 1995, Master of Arts
Concordia University, 1993, Bachelor of Arts