Canadian Lawyer

September 2020

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Page 14 of 51 13 dents from the 1940s to 1960s era that are directly affected by the case. The suit was filed against the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John's (Archdiocese), the legal entity of the Archdiocese of St. John's. They had successfully sued the Christian Brothers over abuse they had experienced at Mount Cashel during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, but they had only received small portions after bankruptcy proceedings in the United States resulted in liquidation of that organization's assets. As a result, the plaintiffs are seeking compensation from the Archdiocese. The victims, many of them who are over 80, "all carry the burden of what happened to them," says Budden, even those who went on to have successful lives. Meehan notes that "the trial judge held an adult person in a position of authority, a position of care, who saw children every day as part of his job, has no duty of care toward them. That's difficult to understand. The Court of Appeal corrected that." Court decision validates Black Nova Scotians land title claims Q&A Education: LLB Osgoode Hall Law School 2003 Called to Bar: Ontario in 2004, Nova Scotia in 2007 Career highlights: Articled with Canadian Environment Law Association; staff lawyer at Ontario Legal Aid; partner at BM&L in 2010, with focus on real estate transactions Piotr Luczak partner BURKE MACDONALD & LUCZAK BARRISTERS & SOLICITORS On July 7, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Jamie Campbell ruled that systemic racism played a role in a Black Nova Scotia resident being denied title to land he had inherited from descendants who came to the province in the 18th century. The Downey v. Nova Scotia decision deals with one piece of property, but it sets a precedent that could change the way future land claims in predominantly Black communities in Nova Scotia are handled. How does this case go beyond the realm of real estate law and into the area of human rights? My client lives in North Preston, one of the largest African-Canadian communities in the country. Title to land on which families have lived for generations has not been settled more than 200 years after the community was founded. White settlers received from the government title to the land on which they settled, but Black settlers did not. Not owning your land means much more than housing insecurity. Homes are used as collateral for securing loans for education or starting a business, and many people want to use their home to fund retirement or to leave it to their children. Nova Scotia introduced the Land Titles Clarification Act in the 1960s to provide people in designated Black communities with a simpler way to obtain deeds. Why didn't that work? The LTCA places a burden on the applicant. A full abstract of title is required (involving a title search sometimes going back hundreds of years), as is a survey and affidavits from both the applicant and another community member. This process requires a lawyer and significant expenses for the research involved. If the application proceeds past the first stage, a plan of survey is required, adding another expense. Alpha Adroit Forensic Engineering and Expert Opinion Alpha Adroit Engineering Ltd. • Expert Witness • Expert Opinion • Failure Investigation • Forensic Geotechnical Engineering • Remedial Geotechnical Engineering • Forensic Civil Engineering Construction For: • Litigation • Arbitration • Insurance claims • Failure Investigation and Repair Toll-Free (Canada only): 1-844-423-7648 Edmonton: 780-708-4110 Calgary: 403-918-4110 Red Deer: 403-918-4115 Vancouver: 778-322-4110 Saskatoon: 306-881-4115 Fort McMurray: 780-607-4114 "This decision will be a powerful motivation . . . to take steps to prevent and eliminate sexual abuse." Eugene Meehan, Supreme Advocacy

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