BARE BONES BRIEFS: Cyberattack costs law firm $11 million | OCA: testamentary revocations ineffective against RRIF and RFSA beneficiaries | Companies ignoring law requiring disclosure of Indigenous payments | Dubai’s DEC’s first case | Dellelce gets third honourary doctorate

By Julius Melnitzer | September 18, 2023


Simplify, the UK’s largest independent conveyancing and property services group, which embraces six of the largest conveyancing law firms in the UK and handles 250,000 transactions annually, suffered almost $12 million in losses from a cyberattack in 2021 that created a major IT systems outage, according to the Gazette. The company reported that system restoration hindered new case levels for 10 weeks. The insurers paid up, but of course, the indemnity did not cover loss of goodwill.

Related Article: Cybersecurity attacks in Canada hold steady, but things are getting worse


The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that a provision revoking “all Wills and Testamentary dispositions of every nature and kind whatsoever made by me” does not affect registered retirement income funds and tax-free savings accounts plans with beneficiary designations by instruments. The court invoked s. 52(1) of the Succession Law Reform Act, which provides that revocations in wills revoke designations by instruments only if the revocation “relates expressly to the designation, either generally or specifically.” Although both plans involved were listed in the will, the court confirmed that the revocation of a designation made by instrument must relate to the designation and not just the plan.

Related Article: Estate freeze strategies come with many potential pitfalls

Extractive sector falls short on ESTMA disclosure, hinders Indigenous payment analysis

Byron Dolan, a Summerland, BC-based accountant whose work includes helping stakeholders in Indigenous-related projects benchmark their proposals against historical trends, says that, based entirely on publicly available information, one in ten resource companies are non-compliant with one or both of two key provisions under The Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act. The legislation requires certain oil, gas and mineral development businesses to report payments made to governments in Canada and abroad, including payments to Indigenous groups. More particularly, the two specific requirements being ignored are the need for companies to maintain a public URL on the Natural Resources Canada website that links to their ESTMA reports and the obligation to include payments made to Indigenous groups. Dolan says that a shortage of resources limits NRCan’s enforcement efforts, to the point where Dolan is unaware of any person or company being charged under the legislation since its inception five years ago. He presumes, however, that the non-compliance is “primarily due to oversight and unfamiliarity with the ESTMA requirements and reliance on similar – but not identical – reporting requirements in other jurisdictions.” Arend Hoekstra, an Aboriginal and mining lawyer in Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP’s business law group in Vancouver, believes that the type of analysis ESTMA disclsoure engenders can provide a boost to Indigenous participation in resource projects because it sheds some clarity on what amounts to a fair deal.

Related Article: Critical minerals sector will have to wait on speedier timelines for development


The Dubai International Financial Centre Courts’ digital economy court, established as the world’s first in 2021, will hear its seminal case in January 2024. The case, the Gazette reports, is an appeal in a dispute over the liability of a trusted intermediary when one of the parties to a contract is fraudulent. The DIFC established the DEC to oversee sophisticated national and transnational disputes related to current and emerging technologies across areas ranging from big data, blockchain, AI, fintech, and cloud services, to disputes involving unmanned aerial vehicles, 3D printing, and robotics.

Related Article: Regulating cryptocurrency exchanges: The courts struggle


In June, the University of Ottawa conferred an honourary doctorate on Perry Dellelce, co-founder and managing partner of Toronto’s Wildeboer Dellelce LLP. The degree is Dellelce’s third: he received LL.Ds previously from Laurentian University in 2017 and the University of Western Ontario in 2022.

Related Story: Bare Bones Briefs: Dellelce family donates $5 million to University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law

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