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 Queen'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 15 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

"I have two teenaged sons who keep me busy." Michael says. His love of the fiddle also 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)
Keyland Development Corporation v Rocky View (Municipal District No 44), 2016 ABQB 735
Primewest Energy Inc v Texacana Turbines Inc, 2016 ABQB 715
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 DefencesAn overview of the major types of coverage defences of the auto insurer under Alberta's standard owner's policy S...
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...
June 2018
Municipal Minute: Case Comment on McAllister v. Calgary
In the McAllister v. Calgary (City), 2018 ABQB 480 Madame Justice Kubik of the Court of Queen’s Bench found the City of Calgary liable under the Occupiers Liability Act for injuries suffered by the Plaintiff Kyle McAllister when he was assaulted ...
August 2013
Advanced Payments by Automobile Insurers
Canadian Insurance Law Reporter
July 2013
Advanced Payments by Automobile Insurers
Automobile liability insurers in Alberta have long been permitted to offer advanced payments to injured claimants in part settlement of claims without admitting that the insurer or its insured has any liability. This bulletin looks at two issues s...
April 2013
Saskatchewan Trial Court Awards Record Punitive Damages for Insurer Bad Faith
A Justice of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench has assessed punitive damages totalling $4,500,000 against two insurers in a recent trial decision, Branco v. American Home Assurance et. al., 2013 SKQB 98. In rendering a decision in whic...
July 2012
If a Tree Falls in Quebec, Can Anybody Sue?
March 2010
Fundamental Breach R.I.P. Freedom of Contract Gains Traction in Supreme Court’s Decision in Tercon
October 2008
Protecting Pre-Trial Privacy
September 2008
The Problem of the Late Suing Plaintiff
Prepare Now to Avoid the Pitfalls of E-Discovery Later
May 2006
Party On? Supreme Court of Canada Rules on Liability of Social Hosts for Guests' Drunk Driving
November 2005
Court Rejects Challenge to Alberta's Insurance Reform
October 2005
To Belt or not to Belt: New Limits on Contributory Negligence
In Snushall v Fulsang, [2005] O.J. No. 4069, released September 27, 2005, the Ontario Court of Appeal has stated clear rules on the extent to which a plaintiff can be held contributorily negligent for her own injuries for failing to wear...

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