Duplicate Litigation

Avoiding Duplicate Litigation (Res Judicata)

Duplicate litigation is to be avoided and thus the legal concept of res judicata- when a court has decided the legal issue already it constitutes a bar to a subsequent action involving the same claim. Alexander v Alexander 2017 BCSC 914 is a recent case… Read more

Determining Legal Fees When No Retainer Agreement is Present

Determining Legal Fees When No Retainer Agreement is Present

If a lawyer does not have a contingency fee agreement or retainer agreement then the courts will use various criteria to determine the appropriateness of the legal fees based on quantum meruit (a reasonable fee for services rendered). One of the chestnuts in this area of… Read more

Ensuring Independent Legal Advice

Ensuring Independent Legal Advice

Many transactions are set aside in British Columbia by the courts on the basis that true independent legal advice was not obtained by the person making a radically changed will or transferring an asset for little or no consideration. A lawyer’s duty in such situations… Read more

Lower Courts Bound By Higher Courts (Stare Decisis)

Lower Courts Bound By Higher Courts (Stare Decisis)

Most people likely know that higher courts such as appeal courts bind the decisions of lower courts through precedents. The legal term is stare decisis (to adhere to precedents), and the legal rationale is that like decisions should be decided alike so as to give more… Read more

The Principles of Moot Court Cases

The Principles of Moot Court Cases

Moot court cases occur when a determination is sought on a matter which when decided by the court will not have any practical effect on the existing dispute such as the legal issue no longer exists. The courts do however have discretion when the moot… Read more

Dismissal For Delay (Want of Prosecution)

Dismissal For Delay (Want of Prosecution)

PMC Builders & Developers Ltd v Country West Construction Ltd 2009 BCCA 535 is one of the leading cases in BC for dismissal of a court action for delay, also known as want of prosecution. It was recently followed in an estate case Re Strom… Read more

Costs: The Standard of Review

Costs: The Standard of Review

The BC Court of Appeal in Giles v Westminster Savings Credit Union 2010 BCCA 282 reviewed the standard of awarding costs and the various purposes for an award of costs. The case was recently followed in Kyle Estate v Kyle 2017 BCSC 752 which stated… Read more

Self Represented Litigants

The Rising Trend of Self Represented Litigants

The Ontario Court of Appeal in Moore v Apollo & Beauty Care 2017 ONCA 383 discussed the increasing trend of self  represented litigants appearing before the courts. Self represented litigants present a problem for both the Court and any opposing counsel due to their general… Read more

Court Directions

Court Directions

Biely Estate v CNIB 2017 BCSC 788 involved an application for Court directions to be followed with respect to three competing wills of a deceased. The application was brought pursuant to Supreme Court Civil Rule 25-14(8)(a) and sought directions that the litigation only deal with… Read more

Offers to settle double costs

Offers to Settle Double Costs

Sim v Sim estate 2017 BCSC 345 discussed offers to settle and rejected an award for double costs finding that the offer was one that ought not to have reasonably been accepted as it required the plaintiff to give up the claim entirely while providing… Read more

The Courts Power to Amend Pleadings

It is frequent in estate litigation that new facts arise and the claim must be amended to provide for the adequate remedy. This blog is a summary of the courts power to make such an order.   Rule 6-1(1) of the Supreme Court Rules provides… Read more

Implied Confidentiality

The Implied Confidentiality of Documents In Litigation

deals with the issue of confidentiality of document exchange in litigation relating to the disclosure of documents to non-parties to the litigation, without the consent of the actual parties to the litigation. The court held that to disclose discovery information by the parties to nonparties, constitutes… Read more

Pleading Invalid Will and Wills Variation Claim Together Allowed

From time to time during the almost 40 years that I have practiced estate litigation, I have been told by various opposing counsel that it is inappropriate to plead in the same court action that a will is not valid, and therefore must be proved… Read more

Court of Appeal Rules on Res Judicata, Abuse of Process and Estoppel

Bronson v. Tompkins Ranching Ltd., 2013 BCCA 477 The Beneficiaries of a trust obtained a judgment against the trustee for a breach of trust in relation to the sale of shares by the trust. They then commenced a second action, against the recipient of the… Read more

Cost Awards in Estate Litigation

Cost Awards in BC Estate Litigation

INTRODUCTION Cost awards are the amount of monies that a Court awards one litigant against another as a contribution towards legal fees incurred. Until recent years, practitioners in estate litigation , had little to fear with respect to costs awards. Win or lose, the costs… Read more