Austin Estate, Re, (2007) 249 B.C.A.C. 70 (CA)

JudgeProwse, Donald and Frankel, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (British Columbia)
Case DateSeptember 04, 2007
JurisdictionBritish Columbia
Citations(2007), 249 B.C.A.C. 70 (CA);2007 BCCA 586

Austin Estate, Re (2007), 249 B.C.A.C. 70 (CA);

    414 W.A.C. 70

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2007] B.C.A.C. TBEd. DE.018

Linda Pauline Mary Austin (appellant/plaintiff) v. Catherine Anne Goerz (respondent/defendant)

(CA034249; 2007 BCCA 586)

Indexed As: Austin Estate, Re

British Columbia Court of Appeal

Prowse, Donald and Frankel, JJ.A.

November 29, 2007.

Summary:

Mr. and Mrs. Austin married in 1970. They separated in 2000. That same year, Mr. Austin and Ms. Goerz began living together and they continued to do so until Mr. Austin died intestate in 2006. Mrs. Austin commenced an action, seeking various relief, including a declaration that Goerz was "not a spouse of the deceased either at common law or at all". The chambers judge declared that Goerz was a "common law spouse" under the Estate Administration Act. Mrs. Austin appealed.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Devolution of Estates - Topic 428

Devolution - General - Spouses - Common law spouse - Mr. and Mrs. Austin married in 1970 - They separated in 2000 - That same year, Mr. Austin and Ms. Goerz began living together and they continued to do so until Mr. Austin died intestate in 2006 - A chambers judge held that Goerz met the definition of "common law spouse" in s. 1(b) of the Estate Administration Act, i.e., "a person who has lived and cohabited with another person in a marriage-like relationship, including a marriage-like relationship between persons of the same gender, for a period of at least 2 years immediately before the other person's death" - Mrs. Austin appealed - She argued that (1) a marriage-like relationship could not exist unless both parties had the legal capacity to marry; (2) a marriage-like relationship contemplated financial dependence of one party on the other, and neither Goerz nor Mr. Austin was so dependent; and (3) the chambers judge erred in finding that Mr. Austin and Goerz intended to enter into a marriage-like relationship - The British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal - A marriage-like relationship could exist even though one or both partners lacked the capacity to marry and financial dependence was not a necessary aspect of such a relationship - Based on the evidence, it was open to the chambers judge to conclude that there was an intention to enter into a marriage-like relationship.

Family Law - Topic 314

Marriage - Common law marriage - What constitutes - [See Devolution of Estates - Topic 428 ].

Family Law - Topic 1001

Common law, same-sex or adult interdependent relationships - What constitutes common law relationship - [See Devolution of Estates - Topic 428 ].

Family Law - Topic 1002

Common law, same sex or adult interdependent relationships - Spouse - Meaning of - [See Devolution of Estates - Topic 428 ].

Words and Phrases

Marriage-like relationship - The British Columbia Court of Appeal considered the meaning of the phrase "marriage-like relationship" in the definition of "common law spouse" in s. 1(b) of the Estate Administration Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 122 - See paragraphs 22 to 62.

Cases Noticed:

ATCO Gas and Pipelines Ltd. v. Energy and Utilities Board (Alta.), [2006] 1 S.C.R. 140; 344 N.R. 293; 380 A.R. 1; 363 W.A.C. 1; 2006 SCC 4, refd to. [para. 19].

R. v. Ulybel Enterprises Ltd., [2001] 2 S.C.R. 867; 275 N.R. 201; 206 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 304; 618 A.P.R. 304; 2001 SCC 56, refd to. [para. 22].

McDiarmid Lumber Ltd. v. God's Lake First Nation et al., [2006] 2 S.C.R. 846; 356 N.R. 1; 212 Man.R.(2d) 7; 389 W.A.C. 7; 2006 SCC 58, refd to. [para. 22].

Montreal (City) v. 2952-1366 Québec Inc., [2005] 3 S.C.R. 141; 340 N.R. 305; 2005 SCC 62, refd to. [para. 22].

A.Y.S.A. Amateur Youth Soccer Association v. Canada Revenue Agency (2007), 367 N.R. 264; 2007 D.T.C. 5527; 2007 SCC 42, refd to. [para. 33].

McEvoy et al. v. Capital Motors (Pouce Coupe B.C.) Ltd. et al. (1988), 31 E.T.R. 55 (B.C.S.C.), affd. (1992), 10 B.C.A.C. 182; 21 W.A.C. 182; 63 B.C.L.R.(2d) 397 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 36].

Keddie v. Currie (1991), 3 B.C.A.C. 291; 7 W.A.C. 291; 60 B.C.L.R.(2d) 1 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 38].

Desjarlais v. Macdonell Estate (1988), 23 B.C.L.R.(2d) 195 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 39].

Manson v. Heaslip (Administratrix of Quinn Estate), [1949] 1 W.W.R. 717 (B.C.S.C.), refd to. [para. 42].

Sudar v. McKay Estate (1990), 36 E.T.R. 83 (B.C.S.C.), refd to. [para. 45].

EGALE Canada Inc. et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al. (2003), 182 B.C.A.C. 35; 300 W.A.C. 35; 13 B.C.L.R.(4th) 1; 2003 BCCA 251, refd to. [para. 48].

Gostlin v. Kergin (1986), 3 B.C.L.R.(2d) 264 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 56].

Takacs et al. v. Gallo (1998), 105 B.C.A.C. 115; 171 W.A.C. 115; 48 B.C.L.R.(3d) 265 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 56].

M. v. H., [1999] 2 S.C.R. 3; 238 N.R. 179; 121 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 57].

Yakiwchuk v. Oaks, 2003 SKQB 124, refd to. [para. 58].

Ruskin v. Dewar (2003), 243 Sask.R. 126; 48 R.F.L.(5th) 123; 2003 SKQB 514 (Fam. Div.), varied (2005), 269 Sask.R. 80; 357 W.A.C. 80; 23 R.F.L.(6th) 310; 2005 SKCA 89, refd to. [para. 59].

Housen v. Nikolaisen et al., [2002] 2 S.C.R. 235; 286 N.R. 1; 219 Sask.R. 1; 272 W.A.C. 1; 2002 SCC 33, refd to. [para. 62].

Statutes Noticed:

Estate Administration Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 122, sect. 1 [para. 3].

Authors and Works Noticed:

British Columbia, Hansard, Debates of the Legislative Assembly, vol. 16, No. 21 (July 8, 1999), p. 14228 [para. 34].

British Columbia, Hansard, Debates of the Legislative Assembly, vol. 20, No. 9 (June 12, 2000), p. 1642 [para. 35].

Driedger, Elmer A., Construction of Statutes (2nd Ed. 1983), p. 87 [para. 19].

Hansard (B.C.) - see British Columbia, Hansard, Debates of the Legislative Assembly.

Sullivan, Ruth, Sullivan and Driedger on the Construction of Statutes (4th Ed. 2002), pp. 162 to 167 [para. 31].

Counsel:

A. Marsden, for the appellant;

G.S.K. Lee, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on September 4, 2007, at Vancouver, British Columbia, before Prowse, Donald and Frankel, JJ.A., of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. The following judgment of the Court of Appeal was delivered by Frankel, J.A., on November 29, 2007.

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    ...(Ont Dist Ct); see also Sporring v Collins, 2009 ABQB 141; Gostlin v Kergin (1986), 3 BCLR (2d) 264 at 267–68 (CA); Austin v Goerz, 2007 BCCA 586; Weber v LeClerc, 2015 BCCA 492; Turner v Stabeck, 2020 BCSC 1553 (intestate succession); Pidwerbeski v Garcia, 2020 BCSC 2022 (same-sex couple; ......
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    ...(Ont Dist Ct); see also Sporring v Collins, 2009 ABQB 141; Gostlin v Kergin (1986), 3 BCLR (2d) 264 at 267–68 (CA); Austin v Goerz, 2007 BCCA 586; Weber v LeClerc, 2015 BCCA 492; Coombes Estate (Re), 2015 BCSC 2050 (intestate succession); Boyd v Foster, 2019 BCSC 901 (property and spousal s......
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    ...of statutory interpretation are manifestly distinct from those of contractual interpretation: see, for example, Austin v Goerz , 2007 BCCA 586, at para 19-21: ... [41] I agree with the appellant's argument. In my view, the judge erred in failing to interpret the language of the contract hav......
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    • British Columbia Court of Appeal (British Columbia)
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    ...v. Payne et al., [1999] B.C.T.C. 200 (S.C. Master), refd to. [para. 12]. Austin v. Goerz - see Austin Estate, Re. Austin Estate, Re (2007), 249 B.C.A.C. 70; 414 W.A.C. 70; 2007 BCCA 586, refd to. [para. 21]. British Columbia (Minister of Forests) v. Okanagan Indian Band et al., [2003] 3 S.C......
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92 cases
  • Campbell v. Campbell, (2013) 336 B.C.A.C. 89 (CA)
    • Canada
    • British Columbia Court of Appeal (British Columbia)
    • 4 December 2012
    ...of statutory interpretation are manifestly distinct from those of contractual interpretation: see, for example, Austin v Goerz , 2007 BCCA 586, at para 19-21: ... [41] I agree with the appellant's argument. In my view, the judge erred in failing to interpret the language of the contract hav......
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    • 4 May 2010
    ...v. Payne et al., [1999] B.C.T.C. 200 (S.C. Master), refd to. [para. 12]. Austin v. Goerz - see Austin Estate, Re. Austin Estate, Re (2007), 249 B.C.A.C. 70; 414 W.A.C. 70; 2007 BCCA 586, refd to. [para. 21]. British Columbia (Minister of Forests) v. Okanagan Indian Band et al., [2003] 3 S.C......
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2 books & journal articles
  • Cohabitational Relationships
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Canadian Family Law - Ninth edition
    • 25 July 2022
    ...(Ont Dist Ct); see also Sporring v Collins, 2009 ABQB 141; Gostlin v Kergin (1986), 3 BCLR (2d) 264 at 267–68 (CA); Austin v Goerz, 2007 BCCA 586; Weber v LeClerc, 2015 BCCA 492; Turner v Stabeck, 2020 BCSC 1553 (intestate succession); Pidwerbeski v Garcia, 2020 BCSC 2022 (same-sex couple; ......
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    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Archive Canadian Family Law. Eighth Edition
    • 3 August 2020
    ...(Ont Dist Ct); see also Sporring v Collins, 2009 ABQB 141; Gostlin v Kergin (1986), 3 BCLR (2d) 264 at 267–68 (CA); Austin v Goerz, 2007 BCCA 586; Weber v LeClerc, 2015 BCCA 492; Coombes Estate (Re), 2015 BCSC 2050 (intestate succession); Boyd v Foster, 2019 BCSC 901 (property and spousal s......

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