James D. Murphy

Practice Focus

  • Commercial and General Litigation 
    • Broad experience in corporate, commercial, oil and gas, estate, construction, and other areas of litigation
    • Has acted as lead counsel in numerous Trials and Appeals before all levels of courts in Alberta, the British Columbia Supreme Court, and the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench
    • Has obtained numerous Anton Piller Orders and other pre-trial relief, including restrictive and mandatory injunctions
    • Has appeared before multiple tribunals, including the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA)
  • Energy Litigation 
    • Extensive experience in energy litigation, including contractual interpretation, joint venture agreements, operator's duties, offset well clauses, rights of first refusal, facility ownership, royalties, and accounting disputes 
  • Construction Litigation, including Builders' Liens
    • Acts for owners, general contractors and subcontracts in a variety of construction disputes, including builders' lien claims, delay and deficiency claims, tender disputes, and other construction disputes
  • Estate Litigation
    • Experience representing personal representatives or beneficiaries in contentious matters involving wills, trusts, and the administration of estates
  • Occupational Health and Safety
    • Extensive experience defending companies against prosecutions brought under Occupational Health and Safety Legislation

Practice Areas


  • University of Calgary, Bachelor of Laws, 2003
  • University of Alberta, Bachelor of Arts (with Distinction), Political Science/Philosophy, 1999

Bar Admission

  • Alberta 2004

Professional Associations

  • Member, Law Society of Alberta
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association

Honours & Recognition

  • Named as a Litigation Star in Benchmark Canada, the Guide to Canada’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys, 2021


  • Presenter, Gearing up for War: Building Your Case for Trial, Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers' Association, February 2021
  • Panel Member, Oral Advocacy Panel, University of Calgary, January 2020 and January 2021
  • Panel Member, Putting Energy Law into Practice, the Canadian Energy Law Foundation (CELF), University of Alberta, October 2018
  • Presenter, Don’t learn Occupational Health and Safety Law by Accident, Association of Corporate Counsel of Alberta (ACC), November 2018
  • Presenter, Occupational Health & Safety Obligations, Client Seminar, June 2017

Professional and Firm Involvement

  • Member, Executive Committee, BD&P
  • Member, Partnership Admission Committee, BD&P
  • Member, Student Hiring Committee, BD&P
  • Guest Instructor, University of Calgary Faculty of Law Trial Advocacy Course 2011-2017

Representative Case Involvement

  • Lead counsel for a defendant that successfully obtained a Court Order summarily dismissing a Plaintiff's claim to a working interest in numerous oil and gas processing facilities. This case turned on the proper interpretation of three joint venture agreements, the CAPL Operating Procedure, and the objective intentions of the parties to the contracts. (see O'Chiese Energy Limited Partnership v. Bellatrix Exploration Ltd. 2019 ABQB 53)
  • Lead counsel to a publically listed oil and gas company in a confidential arbitration with its joint venture partner. The dispute raised issues regarding the operator's accounting and involved alleged damages of $70,000,000
  • Lead counsel to an operator in a $19,000,000 claim brought by its joint venture partner alleging that it misallocated gas and condensate volumes from joint wells at its gas processing facility
  • Lead counsel to a farmer who successfully obtained a declaration that a Joint Venture Agreement relating to the development of lands located near Langdon, Alberta was invalid, unconscionable, and had been terminated by the parties. The land developer unsuccessfully counterclaimed seeking approximately $50,000,000 in damages. (see Mikkelsen v. Truman Development Corporation, 2016 ABQB 23 and 2017 ABCA 99)
  • Lead counsel to a roofing company in a claim seeking $6,500,000 in damages resulting from a fire that occurred while a commercial building in downtown Calgary was under construction. He successfully opposed an application brought by an insurance company to have two Actions related to the losses tried at the same time and to have the implied undertaking lifted. (see Center Street Limited Partnership v. Nuera Platinum Construction Ltd., 2017 ABQB 295)
  • Lead counsel to a corporation that operated a feedlot and farm in Carnduff, Saskatchewan. He successfully obtained a Court Order declaring that his client was entitled to quiet enjoyment of the feedlot pursuant to a lease, and directing the Respondent to forthwith give up possession of the feed lot, and to allow his client free and unimpeded access to it. (see Purpose Farms Inc. v. Bar JB Ranch et al, 2017 QBG 2693)
  • Lead counsel to an individual client who successfully obtained a Restricted Court Access Order, an Anton Piller Order, a Contempt Order, and a Vexatious Litigant Order against a Plaintiff. (see R.O. v. D.F., 2016 ABCA 170)
  • Co-counsel to a corporation that obtained an ex-parte Anton Piller Order against a former employee who—days before he resigned—had downloaded an entire database of confidential client lists and other documents, and had surreptitiously taken 11 boxes of confidential information out of the office while everybody else was at the corporation's Christmas Party. As a result of the Anton Piller Order, the client got its client lists and other confidential information back from the former employee. (see Peters & Co Limited. v. Ward, 2014 ABQB 488 and 2015 ABCA 6)