MARTIN AQUILINACOO | International Lawyer

“My interest in law stems from a fascination with resolving complex or unorthodox legal issues. I find immense satisfaction in wrapping my mind around situations that are neither black nor white with the aim of getting the best possible outcome for our clients.”


As an international business lawyer with twenty five years of experience, Martin Aquilina brings a high degree of energy and passion to advising clients on a wide range of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, mining, engineering and design, education, technology and fine arts. Owing to the many roles he has assumed throughout his career, Martin has strong technical skills in virtually all areas of the law that are likely to be encountered by a foreign enterprise seeking to do business in or with Canada: corporate set-up, privacy, regulatory, employment matters, intellectual property, capital markets, licensing and joint venture agreements, secured lending, M&A and resolution of disputes. Martin’s pragmatism and wide knowledge make him well suited to be general counsel for your Canadian operations.

Martin regularly advises Canadians doing business overseas. Given his broad knowledge of foreign legal systems, he is called upon to assist in sorting out a wide panoply of situations with an extra-territorial element, such as foreign estate matters, claims by or against foreign parties or arbitral proceedings. He has authored articles for various publications, notably the ASIL Journal and the ABA Year-in-Review, and he speaks publicly on a wide variety of subjects. Notably, Martin presented in Düsseldorf on the impact of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement on M&A transactions.

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Martin is a former equity partner of Gowlings WLG, one of Canada’s largest law firms with offices abroad. Prior to entering private practice, Martin also held positions at the Supreme Court of Canada, the Correctional Service of Canada and as head of the legal department of MD Management, the financial services division of the Canadian Medical Association, recently sold to Scotia Bank for CAD $2.4B (Martin was retained to advise on and close the sale of certain Québec-based assets as part of the transaction). Most recently before joining HazloLaw – Business Lawyers, Martin was based in Geneva, Switzerland, serving as legal adviser to the Global Fund, an international financing organization that has approved funding of over $23 billion to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in 151 countries. Martin’s unique combination of skills and experience is particularly well-suited to resolving complex real-life situations that call for a principled approach.

Martin’s broad professional experience with international clients includes negotiating tax exemptions with the Ministry of Finance of an African country for domestic recipients of international funding and successfully enforcing foreign judgments against Canadian assets. Examples of successful mandates include structuring and taking public the first publicly-traded mortgage investment corporation in Canada, obtaining a ground-breaking ruling in the infamous Bre-X Minerals case and advising a foreign factoring company on establishing its Canadian operations.

Martin holds a Bachelor of Commerce, degrees in common law and civil law and a Master of Private International Law from a Dutch University. He is fluent or conversant in several languages.



  • Settled seven-figure claim for breach of contract and intellectual property appropriation by a Brazilian party against a Canadian industrial design firm for $15,000 and other consideration.
  • Provided strategic advice on multi-jurisdictional estate dispute (Canada, Slovakia, Switzerland), including finding basis for bringing a claim in Canada against the disputing heir.
  • Counsel to MD Management Limited on the divestiture of its medical billing service as part of the $2.4B acquisition by Scotia Bank of the MD Group.
  • Represented a Hong Kong-based distributor of consumer goods against its Canadian supplier for breach of contract.
  • Successfully brought and mediated a seven-figure claim against the Dutch manufacturer of robotic farm equipment on behalf of a large Canadian dairy operation.
  • Advised German counsel on Engineering and Procurement Contract  for $150,000,000 plastic manufacturing plant.
  • Represented a Canadian Somali individual in making a claim against the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia for trespass to her property.
    Successfully brought a claim on behalf of a Canadian visual artist for breach of copyright against a foreign production company using artistic works without permission in a Netflix-distributed movie.
  • Acting for a Canadian engineering company in its dispute with a Mozambique government entity on a World Bank-funded project.
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  • Prepared an emergency injunction to block payment by a Canadian bank of a counter-guarantee securing a performance bond given to a Saudi Arabian counterparty.
  • Providing opinion on Islamic finance mechanisms for multi-million dollar Saudi Arabian project.
  • Advising Canadian post-secondary institution in the set-up of a UN-funded trade school project in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Advising Ontario manufacturer of industrial equipment and drafting memorandum of understanding with Korean firm in respect of a joint venture for installation of a waste-to-energy plant in Egypt.
  • Drafted Joint Venture Agreement between a Canadian firm and Mexican distributor for the distribution of Red Cross branded products.


Non-Residents, E-Platforms, and Federal Sales Tax

July 9, 2021|

On November 30, 2020, significant changes to Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) were proposed in the Federal Finance Minister’s 2020 Fall Economic Update (the “Update”).  The new rules, which have [...]

Bill S-216: Modern Slavery Legislation

July 9, 2021|

Bill S-216, An Act to enact the Modern Slavery Act and to amend the Customs Tariff, was re-introduced late last year in the Canadian Senate. Bill S-216 is an update of Bill S-211, which was introduced [...]

What Our Clients Say

Thanks to Martin’s knowledge of international legal procedures, we were able to avoid a costly trial and settle a seven-figure claim for under six figures (legal fees included). Martin and his team kept us focused on our objectives, took the lead to lay out multiple scenarios and managed the process for us. I would not hesitate to recommend Martin to any company engaged in an international legal dispute.

Kevin Bailey, Design 1st Inc.

Martin’s expertise and personable nature is beyond anything we’ve ever encountered. Beyond the top-notch, attentive, indispensable legal advice and services Martin provided, his personal approach with us has to be what we deem as most valued. Even though he and his office are over 250km away from us, he was as convenient as the town lawyer 2km away.

Sandra Greenly, Norham Farms

HazloLaw did an excellent job on our international business case. We were looking to establish a company in Bulgaria and had no idea where to start. Martin took care of everything for us: contacting the right authorities, making arrangements for incorporation in Bulgaria, translating, notarizing, and couriering documents, and setting us up with accounting services to manage our taxes and payroll. HazloLaw was extremely knowledgeable and professional throughout the entire project. We will continue to use their services for any international legal work.

Darren Shaw, Whitespark Inc.

We’ve been very happy with the service provided by Martin. Martin’s attention to detail, combined with his vast business knowledge is a great asset to any business, especially ours!

Dalcini Stainless, Dalcini Inc.

Amazing service. Top notch insights. Would never use anyone else.

David Hayes, Intensity Security Inc.

I had the pleasure and good fortune to work with Martin Aquilina regarding the settlement of an international estate that also involved commercial property. The matter was complex and involved extensive property in two countries. That Mr. Aquilina is highly skilled in these matters was apparent to me from the beginning. But what set Mr. Aquilina apart from other legal counsel, in my view, was his ability to hone into the very root of the issue, discern the risks and opportunities that were not readily apparent on the surface, and develop a strategic response that resulted in a very satisfactory outcome.

Karyn Standen

HazloLaw was recommended to me by our accounting firm as a boutique firm with a high focused service level. Martin Aquilina was assigned our account and has been acting as lead Counsel for a number of years. Since we entered into this relationship we have brought on foreign investment, created multi-faceted supply agreements, completed asset acquisitions, and established Joint Ventures in other countries. This has led to 4X growth. Thank you to Martin and the HazloLaw team for their assistance helping us achieve the level of success we have. And for helping establish a foundation that will allow for significant additional growth both domestically and internationally in the years to come.

Rob Fraser, MD Management, Hawktree Solutions and Red Cross Products


We are a collaborative team and take great pride in our ability to provide an environment where mutual respect, responsiveness, and out-of-the-box thinking is valued. If you are passionate about Business Law or International Law or Tax Dispute & Resolution Litigation and, are a creative and driven individual – we would love to speak with you.