The Hon. Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C.

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The Honourable Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C. is an arbitrator of Canadian and international business disputes in both institutional and ad hoc settings. He has been in public service for nearly 40 years, and has been extensively involved in the negotiation and settlement of a wide variety of high-profile disputes since the 1980’s.

Justice von Finckenstein has held a number of prominent positions, including Justice of the Federal Court of Canada, Commissioner of Competition, and Chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, where he acquired broad experience in matters involving dispute resolution, business and commercial law, international trade, competition, telecommunications, and administrative law.

In addition to English, Justice von Finckenstein manages cases in French, German, and Spanish; note that any arbitral awards are delivered in English. Download Justice von Finckenstein's biography in Spanish.

Representative ADR Matters

  • Chaired (as judge) the Extraordinary Challenge Committee under chapter 19 of NAFTA regarding Canada-U.S. dispute on pure Magnesium (2004)
  • Led the Canadian negotiating group on dispute settlement during Canada–U.S. Free Trade Agreement negotiations:
    • Established chapter 19 system for bi-national panel review of Anti-Dumping and Countervailing decisions, as well as chapter 18 provisions on trade disputes (1987)
  • As Assistant Deputy Minister in the Department of External Affairs
    • Oversaw the Canadian team in the Canada-U.S. dispute of Lobsters (1991)
    • Oversaw the Canadian team in the Canada-U.S. dispute of Salmon and Herring (1989)
  • Negotiated and drafted the dispute settlement provisions of the Agreement on Internal Trade between the Federal government and the provinces (1994)
  • As puisne judge of the Federal Court of Canada, rendered over 150 judgments on issues of contract, administrative, intellectual property, and immigration law; and human rights

Industry Experience
  • Commercial Law
    • From 1982 to 1987 and 1992 to 1997 as Counsel to the Department of Industry and Assistant Deputy Minister Business Law, Department of Justice, was responsible for all major commercial files of the government of Canada. In this role, successfully led the legal team in the:
      • Renegotiation of the sale of Canadian Nuclear reactor to Argentina
      • Establishment of a Bell Helicopter assembly facility in Montreal for all civilian copters produced by Bell
      • Establishment of a Chrysler assembly plant in Brampton
      • Privatization and sale of Canadair to Bombardier
      • Privatization and sale of DeHavilland to Boeing
  • Competition Law, Mergers and Acquisitions
    • From 1997-2003, acted as Commissioner of Competition and head of the Competition Bureau of Canada. Key files and activities:
      • Reviewed proposed mergers between companies, including those in the banking and airline sectors
      • Investigated price fixing conspiracy affecting the sale and supply of an additive widely used in the animal feed industry, which resulted in one of the largest fines in Canadian history
      • For seven years he chaired the international cooperation working group of the OECD’s Competition Directorate
      • Led the drive to establish the International Competition Network (ICN), the umbrella organization for all competition authorities from around the world
      • Became the founding Chairman of the ICN, a position held until being appointed to the Federal Court in 2003
      • As Chairman of the CRTC, reviewed and approved with conditions the merger review of CTV and CHUM, Rogers and City TV, Shaw Communications and Canwest Global, and Bell Canada and CTV Broadcasting
  • International Trade
    • During the 1980s, served as Senior General Counsel with the Trade Negotiations Office. In this role:
      • Successfully led the Canadian group on dispute settlement
      • Responsible for drafting and implementing Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement including implementing legislation for the Agreement
    • Subsequently, as Assistant Deputy Minister and Assistant Attorney General in the Canadian Departments of Industry, Justice and External Affairs:
      • Responsible for administration of Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement
      • Responsible for drafting authorizing legislation and coordinating implementation of Canadian adherence to WTO
      • Responsible for drafting authorizing legislation and coordinating implementation of NAFTA
      • Legal Advisor of Canadian team that negotiated the WTO Agreement on Basic Telecommunications Services
  • Telecommunications and Broadcasting
    • From 2007 to 2012, acted as Chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Telecommunications Act, Broadcasting Act, and the CRTC Act.

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Honours
    • Appointed Senior Fellow, C.D. Howe Institute, March 2012
    • Selected “Person of the Year,” Playback Magazine, January 2010
    • Recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada, 2002 (first Commissioner of Competition to receive this honour)
    • Selected one of Canada’s “Elite Corporate Lawyers - Trade Law,” Canada Business Magazine, 1989
    • Queen’s Counsel, 1984
  • Memberships
    • Law Society of Upper Canada 
    • Canadian Bar Association
    • London Court of International Arbitration
    • International Chamber of Commerce
    • International Bar Association 
    • International Institute of Communications
    • Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice
  • Publications
    • The Role of Competition Law and Policy within the general Government Policy Framework; Banks and Airline mergers as illustrative examples. University of Alberta, E.J. Hanson Memorial Lectures, Vol. X, September 2000
    • Canadian Economic Regulation: Balancing Efficiency and Fair Process. Law and Markets: Is Canada Inheriting America's Litigious Legacy? Edited by John Robson and Owen Lippert, The Fraser Institute, 1997
  • Speeches and Presentations
    • Given numerous speeches and presentations before a variety of bar associations and professional organizations; view the complete list

Background and Education

  • Chairman, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), 2007-2012
  • Justice, Federal Court and Court Martial Appeal Court, Federal Court of Canada, 2003-2007
  • Chairman and founding member, International Competition Network, 2001-2003
  • Commissioner of Competition, Competition Bureau of Canada, 1997-2003
  • Assistant Deputy Minister Business Law, Department of Industry, 1994-1997
  • Assistant Attorney General Tax Law & Coordinator of NAFTA Implementation, Department of Justice, 1990-1993
  • Assistant Deputy Minister Free Trade Policy and Operations, Department of External Affairs, 1989-1990
  • Senior General Counsel, Trade Negotiations Office, 1987-1988
  • Various legal positions in the Department of Justice, 1973-1986
  • Advanced Management Program, Federal Government of Canada, 1989
  • Admitted to the Bar of Ontario, 1973
  • LL.B., Queen’s University, 1971
  • B.A., with honours, Political Science, Carleton University, 1968

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