Ontario Court of Appeal Endorses Tougher Approach for Vexatious Litigants

by: , November 11, 2015

Ontario officially added Rule 2.1 to its Rules of Civil Procedure on July 1, 2014. The rule gives the courts a general power to stay or dismiss proceedings if they are “frivolous or vexatious or otherwise an abuse of the process of the court.” The court may do so on its own initiative, although any…read more

Supreme Court Dismisses Expert Witness Appeal

by: , November 9, 2015

As I previously blogged, the Court of Appeal for Ontario held in Westerhof v. Gee Estate, 2015 ONCA 206 that witnesses with special expertise who give opinion evidence not formed for the purposes of litigation do not have to comply with the strict procedural requirements for expert witnesses. The losing party sought leave to appeal…read more

Actions to be Dismissed for Delay on January 1, 2017

by: , August 17, 2015

A doomsday cult believes the world will end on January 1, 2017 (at least according to the British press). If the earth somehow survives, we will need to face the consequences of another event occurring on that date: the dismissal for delay of numerous actions without notice. Rule 48.14 of the Rules of Civil Procedure…read more

“On Title” Versus “Entitled”: The Doctrine of Resulting Trust

by: , June 3, 2015

A common estate planning technique to avoid probate tax is for a parent to transfer his or her house into joint tenancy with one of his or her children. That way, when the parent dies, the property passes by way of survivorship from the parent to the child without the need to go through probate…read more

Nova Scotia repeals “habitual drunkard” law

by: , May 29, 2015

Until earlier this month, Nova Scotia had a statute on the books called the Inebriates’ Guardianship Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 227 which allowed for the court to appoint a guardian over a “habitual drunkard”. While Nova Scotia has other statutes which allow the Court to appoint a guardian for a person found to be incapable,…read more

Happy 65th Birthday from the Canadian Government

by: , May 26, 2015

Canadians can rejoice at turning 65 – you are now eligible for the government benefits offered to seniors. In order to spend more time eating cake and less time searching for the benefits that apply to you, provincial and federal benefits are listed in one convenient website. The list briefly summarizes the different benefits available,…read more

Insolvent and Bankrupt Estates

by: , May 26, 2015

Estate trustees and beneficiaries often focus on the positive – the many and varied assets of an estate which will soon be distributed to the beneficiaries. It is only after the estate administration is underway that the full financial picture emerges – an estate that appeared flush may actually have more debts than there are…read more

Can Late-Stage Alzheimer’s Patients Change Their Minds About Their Care?

by: , May 8, 2015

The British Columbia Court of Appeal recently released its decision in Bentley v. Maplewood Seniors Care Society. The closely watched case involved a late-stage Alzheimer’s patient who was supposedly “consenting” to being fed. Her “consent” consisted of opening her mouth when a spoon or glass was placed on her lower lip. The case raises difficult…read more

Mandatory Mediation – A Binding Success

by: , April 29, 2015

In 1999, a pilot program was implemented in Toronto requiring mandatory mediation for all estates, trusts, and substitute decisions matters.  In 2002, mandatory mediation was expanded to Windsor and Ottawa.  The pilot program was considered a success and mandatory mediation has been enshrined in rule 75.1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure (see the Ministry…read more

End of Life Decisions and the Substitute Decision Maker

by: , April 22, 2015

When the end is near, decisions regarding food are up to the substitute decision maker In a recent article for the New York Times, Theresa Brown, a hospice nurse and author, described the story of an Italian grandmother who was caring for her dying husband. Her husband was long past the point of being able…read more