Windsor Law's class action clinic awarded $3.1M from proceeds of lawsuit in recognition of its work

By Heidi Exner

Last Updated: Friday, October 28, 2022 @ 9:29 AM

Law360 Canada (October 27, 2022, 3:09 PM EDT) -- The University of Windsor law school's Class Action Clinic has been awarded $3.1 million from the recent settlement of a $100-million class action lawsuit, according to an Oct. 27 news release.

The award comes from the settlement in MacDonald et al v. BMO Trust Company et al 2020 ONSC 93, in which the Ontario Superior Court found financial institutions had “breached duties as trustees and fiduciaries by failing to disclose amount of markup fee on foreign currency conversions in registered accounts.”

“I am impressed with Windsor Law’s long-standing commitment to improving access to justice and with the work of the Class Action Clinic,” James MacDonald, one of the lead plaintiffs in this action, said in the law school’s statement.

“The lawsuit settlement helped thousands of Canadians achieve access to justice for their claim,” he added.

Windsor Law dean Reem Bahdi called the award to the clinic “an important next step in Windsor Law’s rich history of upholding an access to justice mission for Canadians.”

The school’s Class Action Clinic was established in 2019 and received start-up funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario, according to its website. It is “staffed with a team of law students, review counsel and a faculty director who provide a range of legal services, information, assistance with filing claims in settlement distribution processes, public education and outreach. …

“Because we serve class members across Canada, the Clinic provides its services online, by telephone and by video conference, as well as in person for those in the Windsor–Essex community,” the website states.

The clinic’s focus is “to assist members at all stages of class action litigation, including in the claims process,” according to the news release. “It has assisted well over 100 class members recover more than $1 million in complex settlement claims processes to date and has also intervened at the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Appeal on legal issues of widespread importance.”

Furthermore, the clinic “provides law students with a unique hands-on learning experience as part of their law school education to become ethical, justice-seeking lawyers through teaching, research, advocacy, and service,” the clinic’s founder and director professor Jasminka Kalajdzic said in the statement.

Dean Bahdi described the class action clinic as the first clinic of its kind in North America.

“A class action lawsuit facilitates access to justice where it would otherwise not be attainable,” Kalajdzic noted in the statement, adding that the clinic “is deeply honoured to have been chosen to receive this significant award. …

“This re-affirms the important work of the Clinic and will permit it to accelerate its focus on helping Canadians across the country in their pursuit of justice through their involvement in current and future class action lawsuits.”

“On behalf of the class members of the lawsuit, we look forward to the impact Professor Kalajdzic and her team will achieve with this award,” MacDonald said.

If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily on business-related law and litigation, including class actions, please contact Heidi Exner at or 905-415-5825.

LexisNexis® Research Solutions