The founders of Tollefson Law have worked together for close to a decade on a range of high profile cases representing public interest and Indigenous clients. They have been counsel of record in legal proceedings relating to the Enbridge Northern Gateway and Trans Mountain Expansion pipelines, the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, and the Teck Frontier oil sands project. For seven years, they represented two school teachers in legal challenges to protect air quality threatened by emissions from industrial facility in Kitimat, British Columbia.
CHRIS TOLLEFSON, Principal
Chris is the founding principal of Tollefson Law and a Professor of Law at the University of Victoria. Since 2016, he is also the founding Executive Director of Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation (CELL), Canada’s first charity dedicated to educating and training aspiring environmental litigators.
He has degrees from Queen’s, University of Victoria and Osgoode Hall Law School, and clerked at the BC Court of Appeal for Justices Lambert and Macdonald.
Chris combines teaching and research on environmental issues with counsel work for various public interest environmental clients. This counsel work has included appearances before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and various environmental regulatory boards and tribunals. He was counsel to BC Nature and Nature Canada during both the Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline hearing processes.
His publications cover a range of environmental and natural resource topics including environmental assessment, eco-certification, and access to justice. He is co-author (with Meinhard Doelle) of a leading environmental law textbook.
Chris is a former President of Ecojustice and founding executive director of the UVic Environmental Law Centre.
He has won various awards for his teaching and research, and in 2014 was the recipient of Nature Canada’s Conservation Partner Award for his work leading their legal team during the Northern Gateway pipeline hearings.
ANTHONY HO, Associate
Anthony received his J.D. from the University of Victoria in 2014, and was called to the British Columbia bar in May 2015. His areas of practice in public interest environmental law have included environmental assessments, regulatory hearings, and judicial reviews. He has appeared before the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel, the NEB in its hearing into the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, the BC Environmental Appeal Board, the Federal Court of Appeal, and the BC Supreme Court. He also holds a Master of Public Administration (UVic ’14), a B.Sc. in environmental sciences (UBC ’10), and a B.A. in political science (UBC ’10).
In his capacity as Program Coordinator at the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation (CELL), he helps deliver CELL’s educational program, which trains law students in litigation practice skills through exposure to real-life pieces of public interest environmental litigation.
VYAS SARAN, Incoming Articled Student
Vyas recently completed his J.D. at the University of Victoria in 2021. He is a frequent contributor to social movements rooted in anti-oppression, community solidarity, and Indigenous legal resurgence. His public writing can be found in outlets like The Tyee.
Prior to joining Tollefson Law, Vyas worked at Pivot Legal Society, the Hua foundation, and the BC Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. He owes his knowledges to queer, anti-racist, feminist, Indigenous, and disability justice activists who have taught and cared for him along the way. He is a descendent of Girmitiya labourers and refugees via Fiji, uses he/him pronouns, and holds a B.A. in political science (UBC ’16).
LYDIA YOUNG, Summer Law Student
Lydia is a J.D. candidate pursuing the Concentration in Environmental Law and Sustainability at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. She holds a B.Sc. in kinesiology (UVic ’19). Lydia was inspired to seek a public interest legal career after her experience wildland firefighting exposed her to the impacts of worsening fires and floods on local communities.
Lydia’s career interests are to explore significant and viable ways for Canada to mitigate and adapt against climate change. She is was part of the 2021 spring cohort in Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation (CELL)’s educational program. She is also co-president of the UVic Environmental Law Club and a Climate Action Research Team leader with Greater Victoria Acting Together.
SEAN PRICE, Summer Law Student
Sean is a second year law student at the University of Victoria. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Economics from Queen’s University, and prior to law school Sean worked as a sustainability consultant in the public and private sectors.
Sean was motivated to study law to better serve his passions for environmental justice and helping clients find effective solutions to complicated problems. He is a member of the University of Victoria LawTech Society, Appeal Law Journal, Environmental Law Club, and was student in the 2021 spring cohot of the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation (CELL). In his free time, Sean likes to read about current events, spend time outside, and be with his friends and family.