Canadian Lawyer

June 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 6 NEWS BRIEFS Disinherited twins win 70 per cent of deceased's estate Bitterness at losing custody battle vented at his children: Supreme Court of B.C. judge TWINS DISINHERITED by a father who was bitter that a custody battle didn't go his way were awarded 70 per cent of his estate by a Supreme Court of British Columbia judge, even though his will specifically disinherited the two. "This case is about the father of twins who, I have concluded, and for reasons known only to him, abandoned them initially at birth and subsequently after he lost the custody trial and despite being awarded generous parenting time," Justice Gordon Weatherill wrote in a ruling Jung v Poole Estate released in early April. Courtney Jung and Chelsea Backous are 34-year-old twin sisters and the only children of Ronald Poole, who died on October 10, 2017, in Surrey at 66. He left an estate valued at $879,174.42. His second will explicitly disinherited the twins, who then went to the courts to have it varied by the courts through a summary trial. The mother of the two sisters died in February 1990 from complications of pneu- Court rules law society naming lawyer in misconduct citation unreasonable The Court of Appeal for British Columbia ruled that the Law Society of B.C.'s decision to publicly name a lawyer given a misconduct citation was "unreasonable" because the process was not transparent. Rather than letting stand a chambers judge ruling allowing the citation to be released without naming the lawyer, the court ruled the matter should be remitted to the regulatory body. Justice Bruce Butler wrote in a decision released in late March that the chambers judge's decision to deny a request to issue an anonymous citation was unreasonable as it failed to demonstrate justification and transparency. Alberta proposes bill on recall of elected officials Alberta has announced the Citizen Initiative Act, which aims to strengthen Albertans' voices on government priorities and initiatives. Bill 52, the Recall Act, is designed to ensure Albertans can hold elected officials accountable. If the province passes these bills, Elections Alberta will need to verify the signatures to see whether a petition for an initiative or an elected official's recall is successful. Regulations will restrict how much Albertans and third parties can spend promoting or fighting the initiative or the recall petition and recall vote. Photos, electronic messages ruled inadmissible in sexual assault trial An Alberta Court of Queen's Bench judge ruled as inadmissible photographs and electronic messages in the trial of Edmonton neurologist Bradley Jack Stewart, charged with sexually assaulting one of his patients. The Crown argued the court should admit the evidence, with only the accused's side of exchanges, as it showed the doctor was interested in the complainant. The defence argued the evidence was not admissible without the complainant's side of the exchange. Justice Adam Germain wrote that what the Crown tried to include is the type of evidence the Supreme Court of Canada directed judges to consider with caution. Case of 'secret family' confirms deceased can have concurrent 'spouses' In a case involving a "secret family," the Supreme Court of B.C. confirmed a deceased person can have more than one concurrent spousal relationship at the time of death. In Boughton v. Widner Estate, the court declared the plaintiff a spouse of the deceased. The plaintiff and the defendant — the legal wife — were each entitled to half of the deceased's estate. The court said the Wills, Estates and Succession Act seemingly intends to keep providing for those engaged in a marriage-like relationship with a person still married to someone else when they died. B.C. first in Canada to offer guaranteed protection for vaccination leave British Columbia is the first province in Canada to have specific protections allowing employees to leave their jobs to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. Amendments to the COVID-19 leave provisions of B.C.'s Employment Standards Act kicked in at the start of April. In addition to allowing employees to take leave for their vaccinations, it also allows them to accompany all qualifying family members to their vaccination booking. WEST UPDATE

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