Amending Pleadings

Amending Pleadings

The Law regarding Amending pleadings was discussed in Director of Civil Forfeiture v Sanghera 2017 BCSC 863 where the director applied to amend the notice of claim which was opposed by the defendant.

[18]         Mr. Justice Davies clearly set out the law regarding amendments and pleadings commencing at para. 39 in British Columbia (Director of Civil Forfeiture) v. Violette, 2015 BCSC 1372 [Violette]:

[39]         In Mayer v. Mayer, 2012 BCCA 77 at para. 215, the Court of Appeal affirmed that the fundamental purpose of pleadings is to define the issues to be tried with clarity and precision, to give the opposing parties fair notice of the case to be met, and to enable all parties to take effective steps for pre-trial preparation.

[40]         Applications for leave to amend pleadings are considered on the same basis as applications to strike pleadings with the question being whether it is plain and obvious that the proposed amendments are bound to fail. In assessing that question, it is not determinative that the law has not yet recognized a particular claim. In its analysis, the court must be generous and err on the side of permitting an arguable claim to proceed to trial. See: McMillan v. McMillan, 2014 BCSC 546 at paras. 13-14, and cases cited therein.

[41]         In Peterson v. 446690 B.C. Ltd., 2014 BCSC 1531 at para.37, this Court summarized the general principles arising on an application to amend pleadings as follows:

[37]      Finally, the general principles arising on an application to amend pleading can be summarized as follows:

(a) Amendment to pleadings ought to be allowed unless pleadings fail to disclose a cause of action or defence: McNaughton v. Baker, [1988] 24 B.C.L.R. (2nd) 17 [(C.A.)].

(b) Amendments are usually permitted to determine the issues between the parties and ought to be allowed unless it would cause prejudice to party’s ability to defend an action: Levi v. Petaquilla Minerals Ltd., 2012 BCSC 776.

(c) The party resisting an amendment must prove prejudice to preclude an amendment, and mere, potential prejudice is insufficient to preclude an amendment: Jones v. Lululemon Athletica Inc., 2008 BCSC 719.

(d) Costs are the general means of protecting against prejudice unless it would be a wholly inadequate remedy.

(e) Courts should only disallow an amendment as a last resort: Jones, McNaughton, Innoventure S & K Holdings Ltd. et al. v. Innoventure (Tri-Cities) Holdings Ltd. et al., 2006 BCSC 1567.

Trevor Todd

Trevor Todd is one of the province’s most esteemed estate litigation lawyers. He has spent more than 40 years helping the disinherited contest wills and transfers – and win. From his Kerrisdale office, which looks more like an eclectic art gallery than a lawyer’s office, Trevor empowers claimants and restores dignity to families across BC. He is a mentor to young entrepreneurs and an art buff who supports starving artists the world over. He has an eye for talent and a heart for giving back.

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