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Hughes joins Bennett Jones as senior counsel in Ottawa office

Wednesday, November 07, 2018 @ 9:52 AM | By John Chunn

Bennett Jones announced that Valerie Hughes has joined the firm as senior counsel in the Ottawa office.

Clients benefit from her unrivalled experience in the resolution of international trade disputes. Having served as counsel, judge or adviser on more than 70 World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes, she is uniquely positioned to represent the interests of Canadian businesses and foreign governments at the WTO.

Hughes has served as counsel for the government of Canada before WTO panels and the organization’s appellate body, as an adjudicator in WTO disputes and as the only person to have served as both director of the WTO’s Legal Affairs Division (2010-16) and director of its Appellate Body Secretariat (2001-2005). She has been involved in WTO challenges involving the Canadian auto industry, softwood lumber and seafood exports.

Hughes is one of Canada’s leading lawyers in international treaty law. She argued Canada’s first investor-state dispute under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). She represented Canada before the International Court of Justice in a dispute with the United States over the fishing grounds off Canada’s east coast, and before an international tribunal that determined the international maritime boundary off Newfoundland and the French islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

She served in senior counsel and leadership positions in her 22 years with the federal government. She was most recently assistant deputy minister and counsel to the Department of Finance. She also served in the departments of Justice and Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

In 2016, Hughes was awarded the John E. Read medal by the Canadian Council on International Law for her distinguished contribution to international law and organizations. She is currently a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.