Court Pleadings

Court Pleadings

Court pleadings must briefly limit the issues of fact and law with certain clarity so as to give the opposing party sufficient notice of the case to be met at trial. The law relating to pleadings was reviewed in the Public Guardian and Trustee BC… Read more

Standing In Public Interest Concerns

Standing In Public Interest Concerns

The issue of public interest concerns standing, being the capacity through proper connection  to bring a court action, was canvassed in Trial Lawyers of BC v BC Attorney general 2016 BCSC 1391 by Hinkson CJBC: [8] The defendants assert that the plaintiff  ( Trial Lawyers)… Read more

Summary Trial In Court's Discretion

Summary Trial In Court’s Discretion

Whether or not a case is suitable or not to be decided by way of a summary trial is a matter of the court’s discretion depending on an a number of factors. Cotter v Point Grey Golf and Country Club 2016 BCSC 10 summarized the… Read more

Promissory Estoppel Revisited

Promissory Estoppel Revisited

The BC Appeal Court in Cowper-Smith v Morgan 2016 BCCA 200 allowed an appeal in part to over turn the successful  the claim brought for promissory estoppel at trial by finding that the claim should not be allowed where a non owner of property gave assurances… Read more

Witness Credibility

Witness Credibility

Witness credibility is essential to winning at trial as if a Judge does not believe your client or the witnesses then you will most certainly lose the case. I have joked for years that the competing stories in estate dispute cases are so diverse that I… Read more

Mutual Wills Create Constructive Trusts

Mutual Wills Create Constructive Trusts

Mutual wills as opposed to mirror wills, are not very common, but when they exist and  breached, that breach creates a trust that can be used to trace the assets into the hands of third parties. Mutual wills are not a good idea for estate… Read more

Interpretation of Court Orders

Interpretation of Court Orders

Interpretation of Court Orders occasionally arises in estate litigation where poorly drafted previous orders may require subsequent interpretation. Basically it is the same basic law as interpreting a contract. In Athwal v. Black Top Cabs Ltd., 2012 BCCA 107 (B.C. C.A.) [ the Court of… Read more

Independent Legal Advice and Undue Influence

Independent Legal Advice and Undue Influence

Under normal circumstances independent legal advice, if properly given should be sufficient to rebut any presumption of undue influence, but that was not the case in Cowper-Smith v Morgan 2016 BCCA 200 where the Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge in finding inter alia… Read more

Hearsay Evidence - The Principled Approach

Hearsay Evidence – The Principled Approach

The Courts have generally in recent years allowed the introduction of hearsay evidence stating that it should be done so under a principled approach. It is a fact that most estate disputes when litigated often refer to statements from the grave and what was stated… Read more

Hostile Adverse Witnesses

Hostile Adverse Witnesses

Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame was called as a hostile adverse witness by the opposing counsel in the opening alleged plagiarism of “Stairway to Heaven” trial. Rule 12-5 (19) describes an adverse witness aka hostile witness as a “party who is adverse in interest”…. Read more

Expert witnesses

Expert Witnesses

Once an expert becomes a witness, the expert is then presented to the court as truthful, reliable, knowledgeable and qualified. Rule 11-2(1) makes it clear that an expert has a duty to assist the court and is not to be an advocate for any party…. Read more

Witness Memory Difficulties and Expert Evidence

Witness Memory Difficulties and Expert Evidence

Witnesses in general on occasion have memory difficulties but where the memory is so lacking as to be unreliable, expert evidence may be admissable to show that a witness suffers from a mental disability which affects his or her ability to testify reliably. The admissible evidence… Read more

Document Production Litigation

Document Production Litigation

Document production in litigation in BC is now under the new rules in effect since 2010 to initially only producing documents necessary to prove a material fact. The new rule for production of documents was discussed in Biehl v Strang 2010 BCSC 1391. Rule 7-1(1)… Read more

Court of Appeal Allows Courts to Interpret Trust Documents

Court of Appeal Allows Courts to Interpret Trust Documents   The almost chestnut re Engleman Estate 1986 23 ETR 30, BCCA, The will of the deceased made his two brothers co-executors and sole beneficiaries. A major asset of the estate was a farm on which… Read more

Probate Procedure When Four Wills In Dispute

Re Dow Estate 2015 BCSC 292 an issue of probate procedure arose  due to the fact that the deceased made four wills in the last 2 1/2 years of his life. The plaintiff was named as a beneficiary in the first and third wills, but not… Read more