Laches

Laches

Laches was discussed and rejected by the court in Grewal v Khakh 2016 BCSC 2055, where the court quoted the Supreme Court of Canada:

52           In  M. (K.) v. M. (H.), , [1992] 3 S.C.R. 6, [1992] S.C.J. No. 85 (S.C.C.) at para. 98, where the court said:

A good discussion of the rule and of laches in general is found in Meagher, Gummow and Lehane, supra, at pp. 755-765, where the authors distill the doctrine in this manner, at p. 755:

It is a defence which requires that a defendant can successfully resist an equitable (although not a legal) claim made against him if he can demonstrate that the plaintiff, by delaying the institution or prosecution of his case, has either

(a) acquiesced in the defendant’s conduct or

(b) caused the defendant to alter his position in reasonable reliance on the plaintiff’s acceptance of the status quo, or otherwise permitted a situation to arise which it would be unjust to disturb.

Thus there are two distinct branches to the laches doctrine, and either will suffice as a defence to a claim in equity. What is immediately obvious from all of the authorities is that mere delay is insufficient to trigger laches under either of its two branches. Rather, the doctrine considers whether the delay of the plaintiff constitutes acquiescence or results in circumstances that make the prosecution of the action unreasonable. Ultimately, laches must be resolved as a matter of justice as between the parties, as is the case with any equitable doctrine.

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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