Queen’s Counsel Lawyer
Brent Handel was appointed a Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.) on December 30, 2011. This honorary title is intended to recognize a lawyer’s achievement and standing in the legal profession, professional integrity, and outstanding contribution to the legal profession and to the community. Currently, there are 9,567 active lawyers in Alberta. Of those active lawyers only 41 lawyers are chosen every two years to receive the honour of Q.C.
Brent Handel, Q.C. has lived and worked in Red Deer since 1992 when he joined the Red Deer law firm of Gerig Hamilton Neeland as an associate lawyer, becoming a partner in 1997. In 2001 Brent started Handel Law Firm focusing on personal injury claims and set up office in the Millennium Centre in downtown Red Deer, later moving offices to Ross Street right across from City Hall Park.
Brent is active in the Red Deer community being a long time member of the Red Deer Golf & Country Club. He has also volunteered for federal and provincial politicians helping the local Red Deer MP and Red Deer South MLA. In the past he coached his two sons in the Red Deer Minor Basketball Association.
Brent Handel has also volunteered his time over the years to teach continuing education courses to other lawyers with the Legal Education Society of Alberta. As well, Brent Handel has taught a university level business law course on a part-time basis to university students for many years at Red Deer University.
His current volunteer activities include fundraising for the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation and volunteering food distribution at the local food bank.
Brent has been married for over 30 years and has three children, a daughter who is a lawyer, and two sons who are both currently in Law School at the University of Saskatchewan.
Why Choose Brent Handel, Q.C.?
It is important to have a lawyer who has trial experience and experience at the appeal court appealing trial judgments. Brent Handel has conducted numerous complex lengthy personal injury trials and also appealed personal injury trial decisions to the Alberta Court of Appeal. This insures that the defendant insurance company will take any offers seriously, as they know your counsel has the ability to go to trial if they do not make a fair counteroffer. However going to trial is both sides’ worst case scenario.
Therefore, it is also very important to have a lawyer who is highly skilled in negotiation and mediation as the vast majority of cases will in fact be settled and the outcome of your case will be determined by the skill of your lawyer in negotiation or a mediation. Sometimes a mediation using a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench, which is known as a Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR), is utilized as well, but this is just another form of mediation.
“Brent is a very capable, compassionate and practical lawyer who is
very experienced in handling serious personal injury claims.”
Case Comment on the Alberta Court of Appeal decision in McLaren v. McLaren Estate, 2011 ABCA 299
By Cheryl Yingst Bartel and Brent L. Handel, Q.C.
We took this case to the Alberta Court of Appeal and one issue at appeal was the consideration, if any, to give to government funded care costs when considering the award for future treatment costs. Unfortunately, the Court of Appeal failed to explain why the funding risk was expected to be “modest”, when the same Court had accepted in Cherwoniak v. Walker, supra, that a Trial Judge was entitled to entirely disregard the provision of government services in making an award of cost of future care, and several lower Courts had also made this determination.
In rejecting this ground of appeal, the Court of Appeal, McLaren Estate, supra, now stands in contrast to the Court of Appeal’s decision in Cherwoniak v.Walker, supra. How the two decisions can be reconciled is – unfortunately – left for another day. An interesting question is whether the same result would have been reached had Mrs. McLaren been paying for private psychological services at the time of the trial, instead of accessing those publicly available, but that too is left for another day.
Other issues include the duty to supervise learning drivers and the importance of causation in any negligence case. In summary, McLaren Estate, supra, stands as an important case with respect to the duty of supervision of learning drivers. As well, it is an important reminder to counsel that merely to establish negligent acts is not sufficient to ground negligence. A further inquiry must be made as to whether those actions caused or contributed to the injuries which ultimately occurred. This analysis is particularly crucial when the duty to supervise the allegedly negligent actions of another is at issue. Finally, this decision is also important for its lack of clarity in the interplay between future cost of care awards in the face of government funded outpatient programs.
Brent L. Handel, Q.C. was counsel at trial for Mrs. McLaren and co-counsel before the Alberta Court of Appeal. He practices with Handel Law Firm in Red Deer in the area of civil litigation with a focus on catastrophic personal injury claims and wrongful death claims.
Cheryl Yingst Bartel was co-counsel for Mrs. McLaren before the Alberta Court of Appeal in McLaren v. McLaren Estate. Cheryl practices as an independent legal consultant, and provides senior research, writing and analysis services to lawyers. She is also named to both provincial and federal rosters as a mediator and adjudicator