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Joint Venture Agreement

Joint Venture Agreement

Leontowicz Estate v Bakus 2016 BCSC 601 dealt with the validity of a trust relating to mining stakes where it was argued that the deceased had entered into a Joint Venture Agreement that must be based on whether or not there is a binding contract between the venturers.

The court reviewed the evidence and documents and concluded that the deceased in creating the trust did not intend to create a Joint Venture Agreement and discussed the law relating to same :

76      I reject the defendant’s proposition that the Deceased, Bakus and Dahl intended the Trust Declarations as joint venture agreements. A trust declaration may form part of a joint venture agreement, but it must itself constitute a valid trust and satisfy all the essential elements summarized earlier in these Reasons.
77      The invalid Trust Declarations in this case purported to create bare trusts. They do not declare or contain the terms necessary to constitute an enforceable joint venture. The actions Bakus undertook both with respect to the Deceased’s mineral claims and to his own did not represent performance of the terms of a joint venture agreement. The Trust Declarations did not authorize them and there is no joint venture agreement to be found that does so, either in writing or clearly inferable from the parties’ conduct, or from the surrounding circumstances.
78      The subject matter of the venture remains at best ill-defined and vague. In other words, if there was a form of contract, it would be void for uncertainty of essential terms. There is no expressed right of mutual control or management of the enterprise. There is no provision for a right of accounting or reimbursement for extraordinary contributions made to the venture of the kind Bakus said he had made and for which he should be compensated. The purported assets of the alleged joint venture are at best uncertain.

What is a Joint Venture Agreement?

[31] … Although its existence depends on the facts and circumstances of each particular case, and while no definite rules have been promulgated that apply generally to all situations … the following factors must be present [for a valid joint venture]:
(a) A contribution by the parties of money, property, effort, knowledge, skill or other asset to a common undertaking;
(b) A joint property interest in the subject matter of the venture;
(c) A right of mutual control or management of the enterprise;
(d) Expectation of profit, or the presence of “adventure”, as it is sometimes called;
(e) A right to participate in the profits;
(f) Most usually, limitation of the objective to a single undertaking or ad hoc enterprise.
75      To be valid, the joint venture agreement must have at its foundation a binding contract among the partners or joint venturers which contains all the essential terms of the agreement between the parties: Blue Line Hockey Acquisition Co., Inc. v. Orca Bay Hockey Limited Partnership, 2009 BCCA 34[Blue Line] at para. 10; see also, Palmar Properties Inc. v. JEL Investments Ltd., at paras. 37-41. In Blue Line, the parties’ intention to form a joint venture agreement was found in the express terms of the joint venture agreement and the trust declaration, which the defendants did not dispute were validly executed.

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