David A. Ward (1931 – 2010)

We note the passing of David Anthony Ward, one of the founders of Davies Ward, Phillips & Vineberg, and one of the leading authors on Canada’s Tax Treaties.

His published work includes The Interpretation of Income Tax Treaties with Particular Reference to the Commentaries on the OECD Model, Ward’s tax treaties, Ward’s tax law and planning, Taxation of income of foreign affiliates, Current tax planning : an analysis of the 1971 income tax reform, Current estate planning, Canada’s Tax Treaties, and a host of articles and papers, including Canada’s Tax Treaties (1995), CTJ Vol. 43, No. 5 / no 5 1719

The Globe’s notice is here, and the Davies tributes here and here.

One David Ward story (not about tax), told to me almost twenty years ago. Ward led the Davies team which acted for the Reichmann brothers and was responsible for the legal structures that built Olympia and York from a North York tile importer into a global development juggernaut.

In 1987, when Toronto Life published Elaine Dewar’s article “The Mysterious Reichmanns: The Untold Story” the brothers approached their lawyer David Ward to advise them on defamation because of statements in the article concerning their mother.

Ward explained that defamation is a highly technical and procedurally complex area of the law and said that he would be happy to introduce them to Davies’ litigators. No the brothers replied – you are our lawyer and we want you to handle the matter.

His opponent was the quintessential libel specialist. Julian Porter QC acted for Toronto Life: a libel law legend, author of the wonderfully lucid “Libel : a Handbook for Canadian Publishers, Editors, and Writers” and occasional commentator on Libel and Social Media.

Ward had no background in the subject. In meetings of counsel, he would lean back, taking in everyone’s comments, then quietly and devastatingly synthesize everyone else’s position, rebut the heresies, articulate the options and advance his clients’ position forcefully. A tax lawyer solicitor ran rings round the defamation litigators.

You won’t find the details of the case online. Through a complex series of motions, [reported at Reichmann v. Toronto Life (1988), 27 C.P.C. (2d) 37, Reichmann v. Toronto Life Publishing Co., Reichmann v. Toronto Sun Publishing Corp., [1988] O.J. No. 2810 (H.C.J.)], Reichmann v. Toronto Life Publishing Co. (1989), 42 C.P.C. (2d) 170 (Ont. H.C.J.), , the defence’s resources were ground down, insurance exhausted and the case settled before the merits had been adjudicated.

The Toronto Life case was one of Julian’s cases that he may want to forget. It reveals the lawyerly brilliance of David A. Ward.


  1. David’s contribution to international tax jurisprudence was recognized all over the world, and India was no exception. His work, particularly on tax treaty interpretation with reference to OECD model convention, was often referred to here, and he was looked upon as an fiercely independent, fair and sound international tax expert. I particularly recall his contribution to the panel discussion on the ‘Use of foreign court rulings’ in Brussels Congress.

    May his soul rest in peace !

    Pramod Kumar
    Member, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, Mumbai