The Tort of Conversion

Ast v Mikolas 2010 BCSC 127 re Conversion

[125] The tort of conversion involves the wrongful interference with another person’s chattels such as taking, using or destroying the goods in a way that is inconsistent with the owner’s ownership of or title to the goods. See: Boma Manufacturing Ltd. v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, [1996] 3 S.C.R. 727 at para. 31.

[126] The elements that must be proven to establish the tort of conversion are:

(a) a wrongful act by the defendant involving the goods of the plaintiff;

(b) the act must consist of handling, disposing, or destroying the goods; and

(c) the defendant’s actions must have either the effect or intention of interfering with (or denying) the plaintiff’s right or title to the goods.

[127] Conversion is a tort involving strict liability where even an innocent third party recipient of stolen goods may commit the tort of conversion. In MacKenzie et al. v. Blindman Valley Co-Operative Association Ltd., [1947] 2 W.W.R. 443, [1947] 4 D.L.R. 687 (Alta. S.C.), cited with approval in General Securities Ltd. v. Parsons, [1955] B.C.J. No. 22 (C.A.), Chief Justice Howson stated:

The principle under which the liability for conversion is determined is stated in the headnote of the report of the House of Lords decision in the Fowler v. Hollins case, supra, at p. 169: “Any person who, however innocently, obtains the possession of the goods of a person who has been fraudulently deprived of them, and disposes of them, whether for his own benefit or that of any other person, is guilty of a conversion, unless the possession was obtained by him as finder or as bailee, or by purchase in market overt or from an agent, so as to be protected by the Factors Acts.”

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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