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G. John Samms

Partner

Suite 1100, Cabot Place
100 New Gower St.
St. John’s, N.L.
A1C 6K3

+1.709.570.8891

+1.709.722.4565

gjsamms@stewartmckelvey.com

Language(s) spoken: English

Bar Admission(s): Newfoundland and Labrador, 2016

Legal Assistant(s): Sharon Tucker

John is uniquely positioned to provide advice and advance interests on some of the most complex matters facing the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Since joining Stewart McKelvey, John has provided legal and strategic counsel to leading natural resource, mining and energy clients. John has expertise in regulatory compliance, environmental assessment, and public law, including constitutional and administrative law.

Prior to joining Stewart McKelvey, John provided legal counsel to the Premier’s Office – some of his representative experience includes:

  • Member of the lead negotiating team as part of the $2.5 Billion Hibernia Dividend Backed Annuity Agreement – an aspect of the 2019 Atlantic Accord renewal.
  • Advising on provincial rate mitigation efforts to account for anticipated rate increases after the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.

Outside of his busy natural resources and energy practice, John is also an experienced litigator, where he has experience:

  • Defending against applications for an election recount in the district of St. John’s East – Quidi Vidi.
  • Acting as co-counsel for the Toronto Maple Leafs ECHL affiliate, the Newfoundland Growlers, in a highly publicized lease dispute with St. John’s Sports and Entertainment Limited.
  • Defending against multiple challenges to a development in the St. John’s Battery region.

John has become a thought leader in terms of legal aspects of the burgeoning hydrogen industry in Atlantic Canada. John’s passion for the natural resources and energy sector predates his time as a lawyer – he studied about the fallout of the 1969 power contract in relation to the Upper Churchill Falls hydroelectric project as well as the Atlantic Accord while pursuing Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in political science at Memorial University, which influenced his teachings as an instructor of Constitutional Law and Law, Government and Public Policy at Memorial University. His immense knowledge of the past uniquely positions him to advise clients on how best to approach the future.

In addition to his practice in energy, natural resources and litigation, John also represents employers on labour and employment issues, a skillset strengthened by his time working at the Premier’s Office on the province’s Collective Bargaining Steering Committee. John also represents municipalities on tax issues – in 2021, the City of St. John’s appointed John as Commissioner of the Assessment Review Court.

Education & Career

Education

University of New Brunswick, JD, 2015
Memorial University of Newfoundland, MA, 2012
Memorial University of Newfoundland, BA, 2010

Activities

Member, Canadian Bar Association
Advisory committee member, Drug Treatment Court Feasibility Study: An Opportunity for Hope
Commissioner, City of St. John’s Assessment Review Court
Chairperson, Legal Appointments Board for Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Instructor, “Law, Governance and Public Policy” and “Constitutional Law”, Memorial University
Member, Judicial Council of the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador
Chairperson, Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee for the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador
Member, Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA), 2023
Board member – Choices for Youth
Board member – Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation

Accolades

Winner of New Brunswick Trial Lawyers Association Prize for best performance in Trial Practice
Lexpert rating: Electricity, 2024

Thought Leadership

 
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