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Thursday, February 02, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Government Law - Crown - Crown lands and property

Appeal by the trustees of the Pinder Family Trust from the summary dismissal of its action against the Minister of the Environment and Parks Canada. The family leased a cottage lot from Parks Canada in Prince Albert National Park under two 42-year leases, the first of which commenced in 1948. The trustees acquired the lease in January 1995. A cottage and deck were constructed on the lot. In 2005, one of the trustees, Pinder, applied for approval of repairs to and enlargement of the deck. The Waskesiu Lake Realty Officer responded that the deck did not comply with the approved site plan of 1994 and that the deck and a shed extended well into the setbacks. She advised that Parks Canada would not review the application until the deck was brought into compliance with all required setbacks. Pinder proceeded with the repairs and extension of the deck without a building permit. When the officer learned of the repairs, a site inspection was instituted. It was concluded that the reconstruction went beyond normal repair and maintenance, constituting a complete redevelopment of the deck with an increased footprint. Meetings ensued. In 2012, Parks Canada advised Pinder that the lease would be terminated if the deck was not brought into compliance with the applicable regulations regarding projections from cottage structures. The trustees commenced proceedings seeking declarations that their lease was in good standing and that their cottage did not contravene the regulations, an injunction preventing the authorities from terminating the lease or taking any other action with respect to the deck and cottage, and damages. The proceeding was summarily dismissed. The judge considered the deck a part of the cottage, not simply a projection that was exempt from the setback regulations the authorities sought to enforce. She found that Pinder’s repair work required a permit because it impacted the structural integrity of the cottage and deck. She found that estoppel did not prevent the authorities from terminating the lease. She found no basis for the trustees’ claims of defamation, breach of privacy and intentional misconduct. She found statements made by Parks Canada to Pinder’s neighbours substantially true. She found that no common law tort of breach of privacy existed. She applied the presumption that the Crown officers acted in good faith in dismissing the intentional misconduct claim. ... [read more]

Wednesday, February 01, 2017 @ 2:06 PM

In a self-represented world, judges must be the gatekeepers | Gary Joseph

Our adversarial system operates on the premise of passive adjudication.  By this I mean the role of our judges is predominately reflexive as they hear evidence, weigh it and determine disputes based upon what has been presented to them.    Unlike some jurisdictions where judges play an investigative role, our judges must not search out evidence outside of what is presented in court to them by the parties to the dispute.   ... [read more]

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 @ 1:37 PM

B.C. law firms warned about phony e-mails Vancouver Buildings

The Law Society of British Columbia issued a Fraud Alert warning B.C. law firms and lawyers about fraudsters using e-mail scams to get them to release funds from their clients that they are holding. ... [read more]

Thursday, January 19, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

MARITAL PROPERTY - Practice and procedure - Pleadings - Orders - Enforcement of orders - Appeals and judicial review

Appeal by the husband from an order striking his pleadings for non-compliance with court orders. The parties separated in 2013 following a ten-year marriage. They embarked upon high conflict matrimonial litigation, resulting in a multiplicity of court attendances and orders. Three orders in 2013, 2014 and 2015 required the husband to deposit rental income collected from jointly owned property into a jointly owned account. The husband breached those orders. In 2013, a consent order outlined agreed-upon disclosure. The wife requested 375 items from the husband. The husband responded with an affidavit with documents that he claimed provided sufficient disclosure. A judge reviewed the materials and made detailed orders for document production by the parties. The husband provided an affidavit with documents in response. The wife submitted the husband’s materials failed to fulfill the order and moved to strike his pleadings. She also sought to amend her pleading to add a claim for constructive trust in respect of the matrimonial home. The motion judge allowed the amendment and struck the husband’s pleadings. The husband appealed. ... [read more]

Thursday, January 19, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Real Property Law - PROCEEDINGS - Appeals and judicial review - Practice and procedure - Evidence

Appeal by the plaintiffs from a judgment valuing disputed development lands. In 2005, the parties acquired a tract of land pursuant to a joint venture agreement that contemplated subdivision and development. By 2011, disagreements between the parties led to one of the defendants withdrawing from the venture. In 2012, during appraisal of the lands to facilitate unwinding of the joint venture, a prospective buyer offered $40 million to purchase the lands. The plaintiffs did not disclose the offer and did not pursue the sale. Litigation ensued. In 2014, the plaintiffs were found to have breached their fiduciary duty to the defendant. The trial judge directed valuation of the lands as of 2012 and as of 2015, pursuant to a specific process. The parties were unable to agree on a valuation and returned to the trial judge with competing appraisal reports. The trial judge rejected one report as seriously flawed, save for its estimate that market value of comparable properties dropped by 15 per cent between 2012 and 2015. The judge identified issues with the other appraisal report, rejecting its 2015 valuation, and accepting its determination of the property’s minimum value in 2012 as $30 million. The trial judge found that the best evidence of the property’s 2012 value was the $40 million prospective purchase offer. The judge concluded that the property’s value was $36 million in 2012 and $31 million in 2015. The plaintiffs appealed. ... [read more]

Thursday, January 12, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Real Property Law - REGISTRATION OF DOCUMENTS - Lis pendens or certificates of pending litigation - Vacating of

Appeal by the defendant, Houk, from denial of a request to vacate certificates of pending litigation (CPLs) filed by the plaintiff, Daniels Investments. The defendant was a former office administrator for the plaintiff. In 2008, the plaintiff commenced litigation alleging the defendant misappropriated funds. The plaintiff registered CPLs against two properties in which the defendant had an interest. The defendant owned one home jointly with her husband, and a separate revenue property with a group of investors. The plaintiff alleged the misappropriated funds were used to acquire and/or improve the properties. A pre-trial conference was held in 2012. In 2013, the defendant was charged with criminal offences related to the alleged misappropriation. In 2015, the defendant applied to strike the plaintiff’s statement of claim for want of prosecution with an order vacating the CPLs. The chambers judge dismissed the defendant’s application, finding sufficient facts pled to sustain the CPLs. The defendant appealed the aspect of the decision related to the CPLs. ... [read more]

Thursday, December 22, 2016 @ 7:00 PM

Passing the mortgage stress test

On Oct. 17, the federal government introduced new mortgage rules to respond to the effects of low interest rates that have resulted in record-high household debt. The changes will have an impact on the key real estate markets, such as Vancouver and Toronto. However, there is a lot of debate as to the extent of that impact. ... [read more]

Thursday, December 22, 2016 @ 7:00 PM

Know your liability coverage before renting online

Exchange of goods or services is an old practice, but advances in technology and communications have helped the “sharing economy” boom in recent years. Perhaps your home will be vacant for a period while you’re away, or maybe you have an underused room in your home. Technology makes it easy to connect with people around the world who may need accommodations when they visit your community. ... [read more]

Thursday, December 22, 2016 @ 7:00 PM

Internet changing face of commercial laws

At a time when consumers can purchase just about any goods or services — and even conduct financial transactions — through the Internet, retailers in multiple sectors and industries are voluntarily choosing or are being forced to close an increasing number of physical stores and branches. ... [read more]

Thursday, December 22, 2016 @ 7:00 PM

How death complicates conveyance of property

In real property law, there are many important aspects of conveyancing to be considered after the death of a registered owner. The following are the main areas. ... [read more]