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02CE - Anatomy of a Murder Clause

23 May 2018 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM

3.0 ConEd Learning Hours

This presentation will review an array of “indemnity” provisions that qualify as “Murder Clauses,” and will help architects recognize wording and issues that, if accepted, will expose architects to substantial uninsured liability as well as financial duress and the potential for allegations of professional misconduct.

Also to be discussed are the RFPs and client-authored contracts that fall under the “unfair and unreasonable” description. The goal is to assist architects in spotting the content of a “Murder Clause” for themselves and provide a number of tools to address them when they appear.

Learning Objectives

    1. Understand which indemnity provisions qualify as Murder Clauses.
    2. Identify unfair and unreasonable RFPs and client contracts.
    3. Recognize the related wording, terms and issues.
    4. Learn about what exposes architects to allegations of professional misconduct.


Bernie McGarva, B.Arch., OAA, FRAIC, and John Hackett, B.Arch., OAA, FRAIC

Bernie McGarva has been a partner of Aird & Berlis LLP since 1992 and is a senior member of the firm’s Litigation Group and Tax Litigation Team. He is a Certified Specialist in Construction Law by the Law Society of Upper Canada and is recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada and The Canadian Legal Expert Directory as a leading lawyer in the area of Construction Law. Bernie practises in the area of commercial and construction litigation, with a focus on securities litigation, shareholders’ rights disputes and errors and omissions defence. He has appeared before tribunals and all levels of the court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Bernie’s portfolio of reported cases includes extensive work in the area of tax appeals acting for commercial clients in disputes with federal and provincial taxing authorities. He also has extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), both as counsel and as mediator and arbitrator.

John Hackett is vice-president of practice risk management for Pro-Demnity Insurance Company. In that role, he counsels Ontario architects on questions about insurance and liability concerns. He serves as moderator for many Pro-Demnity Loss Prevention Events. Prior to assuming his position with Pro-Demnity in 2004, he practised for 35 years with an Ontario architectural practice that focused on publicly funded institutional projects. From 2005 to 2015, he served as a member of the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC), the organization responsible for oversight of the National Building Code. John is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and a licenced architect in Ontario; at various times, he was licensed to practice architecture in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.