Rathwell v. Rathwell, (1978) 19 N.R. 91 (SCC)

JudgeLaskin, C.J.C., Martland, Judson, Ritchie, Spence, Pigeon, Dickson, Beetz and de Grandpré, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court of Canada
Case DateJanuary 19, 1978
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1978), 19 N.R. 91 (SCC);[1978] SCJ No 14 (QL);19 NR 91;83 DLR (3d) 289;1978 CanLII 3 (SCC);1 RFL (2d) 1;1 ACWS 225;1 ETR 307;[1978] 2 SCR 436;[1978] 2 WWR 101

Rathwell v. Rathwell (1978), 19 N.R. 91 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

Rathwell v. Rathwell

Indexed As: Rathwell v. Rathwell

Supreme Court of Canada

Laskin, C.J.C., Martland, Judson, Ritchie, Spence, Pigeon, Dickson, Beetz and de Grandpré, JJ.

January 19, 1978.

Summary:

This case arose out of a claim by a wife to property in her husband's name which was acquired during their marriage. The husband and wife were married in 1944. Shortly after the marriage the husband and wife opened a joint bank account in which they each deposited approximately $700. Using the funds in the joint bank account the husband purchased two quarter sections of farmland in his name. In 1947 two additional quarter sections of farmland were purchased from funds out of the joint bank account and the farmland was again put in the husband's name. In 1958 an additional 1 1/4 quarter sections of farmland were purchased with funds out of the joint bank account and again the farmland was put in the husband's name. The husband and wife separated in 1967. From 1944 to 1967 the husband and wife worked together on the farm. The husband ceased farming in 1970. The wife claimed a 1/2 interest in all of the husband's property. The trial court dismissed the wife's action for a declaration.

On appeal to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal the appeal was allowed, the judgment of the trial court was set aside and the wife was awarded a 1/2 interest in all of the land purchased prior to the separation of the parties in 1967.

On appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada the appeal was dismissed and the judgment of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal was affirmed.

Five judges in the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal but did not agree on the basis for the wife's claim. Laskin, C.J.C., Spence and Dickson, JJ. found for the wife on the basis of either a resulting trust or a constructive trust - See paragraph 41. Ritchie and Pigeon, JJ. found for the wife on the basis that the purchase of the farmland out of the joint account constituted evidence of a common intention to treat the operation of the farm as a joint venture - see paragraph 65.

Martland, Judson, Beetz and de Grandpré, JJ., dissenting in part, in the Supreme Court of Canada, would have found in favour of the wife only with respect to the land purchases in 1946 and 1947. Martland, Judson, Beetz and de Grandpré, JJ. also rejected the application of the doctrine of constructive trust to cases of this kind - see paragraphs 81 to 90.

Family Law - Topic 625

Husband and wife - Property rights during marriage - Title to property acquired by joint contribution or joint effort - A husband and wife both contributed to a joint bank account out of which a farm was purchased in 1946 - Title to the farm was put in the husband's name - The husband and wife jointly worked together on the farm until their separation in 1967 - The wife claimed a 1/2 interest in all of the husband's property - The Supreme Court of Canada allowed the wife's action and declared that the wife was entitled to a 1/2 interest in the property of the husband acquired prior to the separation in 1967.

Family Law - Topic 625

Husband and wife - Property rights during marriage - Property acquired by the joint effort of a husband and wife - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that where a husband acquired title to property as a result of a joint effort by a husband and wife, then the husband cannot deny the wife's beneficial entitlement to the property - See paragraph 51.

Family Law - Topic 2326

Maintenance of wives - Effect of an order for periodic maintenance - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that an order for periodic maintenance in favour of a wife (who was separated from her husband) is not a bar to a subsequent claim by the wife against the husband's property - See paragraph 53.

Gifts - Topic 727

Gifts inter vivos - Transfers in joint tenancy - Effect of the transfer of funds by a husband and wife to a joint bank account - The Supreme Court of Canada referred to the effect on title of property purchased out of funds from a joint bank account (in the name of a husband and wife) where there is an intention on the part of the husband and wife to pool their resources - See paragraph 48.

Banks and Banking - Topic 2723

Bank accounts - Joint accounts - Title - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that in case of a joint tenancy neither party is the exclusive owner of the whole of the funds in the bank account - See paragraph 48.

Trusts - Topic 1904

Resulting trusts - General principles - The Supreme Court of Canada compared resulting trusts and constructive trusts - See paragraph 24.

Trusts - Topic 2146

Resulting trusts - Intention of settlor - Circumstances where intention of the settlor may be inferred or presumed - The Supreme Court of Canada referred to the circumstances when, as between a husband and wife, the intention to create a resulting trust may be inferred or presumed - See paragraphs 28 to 33.

Trusts - Topic 2305

Constructive trusts - Nature of the constructive trusts - The Supreme Court of Canada referred to the circumstances where, as between a husband and wife, a constructive trust will be imposed - See paragraphs 34 to 40.

Cases Noticed:

Rimmer v. Rimmer, [1953] 1 Q.B. 63, refd to. [para. 1]; not folld. [para. 84].

Pettitt v. Pettitt, [1970] A.C. 777, refd to. [para. 1]; folld. [paras. 65, 87].

Gissing v. Gissing, [1971] A.C. 886, refd to. [para. 1]; folld. [paras. 65, 70].

Murdoch v. Murdoch, [1975] 1 S.C.R. 423, refd to. [paras. 1, 65]; folld. [para. 70].

Thompson v. Thompson, [1961] S.C.R. 3, refd to. [paras. 2, 54]; folld. [para. 81].

Degelman v. Guaranty Trust Company, [1954] S.C.R. 725, refd to. [para. 5]; dist. [para. 82].

Appleton v. Appleton, [1965] 1 W.L.R. 25, refd to. [para. 21].

Balaberda v. Mucha (1960), 25 D.L.R.(2d) 760, refd to. [para. 25].

Vandervell's Trust (No. 2), In re, [1974] 1 Ch. 269, folld. [para. 26].

Hill v. Bishop of London (1738), 1 Atk. 618, folld. [para. 28].

Dyer v. Dyer (1788), 2 Cox. Eq. Cas. 92, folld. [para. 28].

Barton v. Muir (1875), 44 L.J.P.C. 193, folld. [para. 28].

Rider v. Kidder (1805), 10 Ves. 360, folld. [para. 28].

Taylor, Re, [1971] 1 O.R. 715, refd to. [para. 33].

Fribance v. Fribance, [1957] 1 W.L.R. 384, refd to. [para. 33].

Cummins, Re, [1971] 3 All E.R. 782, refd to. [para. 33].

Fiedler v. Fiedler, [1975] 3 W.W.R. 681, refd to. [para. 33].

Barnes v. Addy (1874), 9 Ch. App. 244, folld. [para. 34].

Soar v. Ashwell, [1893] 2 Q.B. 390, folld. [para. 34].

Hussey v. Palmer, [1972] 1 W.L.R. 1286, folld. [para. 37].

Peter Kewit Sons Co. of Canada v. Eakins Construction, [1960] S.C.R. 361, refd to. [para. 39].

Nixon v. Nixon, [1969] 3 All E.R. 1133, refd to. [para. 43].

Dillon v. Dillon, [1956] N.Z.L.R. 162, refd to. [para. 43].

Coghlan v. Cumberland, [1898] 1 Ch. 704, folld. [para. 46].

Annable v. Coventry (1912), 46 S.C.R. 573, folld. [para. 46].

Jones v. Maynard, [1951] 1 All E.R. 802, folld. [para. 48].

Bishop, Re; National Provincial Bank Ltd. v. Bishop, [1965] Ch. 450, refd to. [para. 48].

Daly, Re; Daly v. Brown (1907), 39 S.C.R. 122, folld. [para. 48].

Trueman v. Trueman, [1971] 2 W.W.R. 688, refd to. [para. 57].

Hine v. Hine, [1962] 1 W.L.R. 1124, not folld. [para. 86].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Underhill's Law Relating to Trusts and Trustees, 12th Ed., page 9 [para. 24].

Maitland, Equity, (1936), page 74 [para. 25].

Pound, Roscoe, 33 Harvard Law Review 421 [para. 27].

Halsbury's Laws of England, 3rd Ed., vol. 19, para. 1372 [para. 29].

Scott, Law of Trusts, 3rd Ed., vol. 5, page 3215 [para. 36].

Scott, Constructive Trusts (1955), 71 Law Quarterly Review 39 [para. 37].

Restatement of the Law of Restitution (1936), s. 160 [para. 39].

Counsel:

Robert Thompson and Gene A. Maurice, for the appellant, husband;

Morris C. Shumiatcher, Q.C. and Eric J. Neufeld, for the respondent, wife.

This appeal was heard by LASKIN, C.J.C., MARTLAND, JUDSON, RITCHIE, SPENCE, PIGEON, DICKSON, BEETZ and de GRANDPRE, JJ., at Ottawa, Ontario on May 10 and 11, 1977.

The judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada was delivered on January 19, 1978 and the following opinions were flied:

DICKSON, J. - see paragraphs 1 to 63.

RITCHIE, J. - see paragraphs 64 to 66.

MARTLAND, J., dissenting in part - see paragraphs 67 to 90.

LASKIN, C.J.C., and SPENCE, J. concurred with DICKSON, J.

PIGEON, J. concurred with RITCHIE, J.

JUDSON, BEETZ and de GRANDPRE, JJ. concurred with MARTLAND, J.

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