Can a BC Resident Injured Abroad Sue for Damages in British Columbia?

The answer is contained in the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act and today reasons for Judgement were released by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, dealing with this issue.
In today’s case (Roed v. Scheffler) the Plaintiff was injured on June 25, 2006 in Washington State as a result of the alleged negligence of 2 Washington State Residents or in the alternative John Doe or ICBC pursuant to the Insurance (Vehicle) Act’s unidentified motorist provisions.
The Plaintiff, a BC Resident, brought her tort claim for damages in the BC Supreme Court.  The defendants challenged the courts jurisdiction to hear the case a brought a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Madam Justice Bruce of the BC Supreme Court granted the defendants motion and in staying the lawsuit the court summarized and applied the law as follows:
[38] Certainly the fact Ms. Roed continued to suffer from her injuries in British Columbia and sought treatment here are “facts upon which the proceeding against the [defendants] is based.” Clearly, the continuing harm caused by the negligence of the defendants will form a significant part of Ms. Roed’s claim for non-pecuniary damages.

[39] Are these connections to British Columbia sufficient to meet the real and substantial connection test? The only similar case cited by Ms. Roed where the court assumed jurisdiction isMuscutt. However, based on the discussion in that case, it is doubtful that the Ontario Court of Appeal would have taken jurisdiction on the facts of the case before me. In particular, Sharpe J.A. found that the nature and extent of the damages suffered by the plaintiff within the jurisdiction was a factor and that, unless it was significant, the court should decline jurisdiction: Muscutt at para. 79. In this case, apart from providing a list of medical practitioners she has seen, Ms. Roed does not describe the nature of her injuries or the treatment she has undergone. Further, Ms. Roed deposes that she has suffered a loss of income but does not quantify it.

[40] There are other factors that were found significant in Muscutt that are missing in this case:

1.         The defendants were engaged in business activities that involved an inherent risk of harm to extra-provincial parties. The plaintiff was struck by a commercial vehicle and this vehicle was subsequently struck by an ambulance. The defendants were apparently insured against suits in all Canadian provinces.

2.         The accident occurred in another Canadian province where the enforcement and recognition of an Ontario judgment would not be an issue. In addition, fairness to the defendant is not a concern because the same test of real and substantial connection applies throughout the country. For this reason, Sharpe J. A. concluded that there is generally a more lenient approach to assuming jurisdiction in interprovincial cases as opposed to international actions: Muscutt at paras. 95-99.

[41] In contrast, cases involving defendants from other countries pose more difficult jurisdictional issues. Because enforcement of the judgment in the foreign jurisdiction is a factor to consider in the real and substantial connection test, the approach to jurisdiction taken by the foreign country when the connecting factor is the location of damages is a relevant concern. Of significance to the case at hand, Sharpe J.A. refers to the law in the United States on this issue at para. 105 of Muscutt:

By contrast, in other countries, it appears that damage sustained within the jurisdiction is only accepted as a basis for assumed jurisdiction in certain limited circumstances. As discussed above, in the United States, the minimum contacts doctrine requires an act or conduct on the part of the defendant that amounts to personal subjection to the jurisdiction. Without more, damage sustained in the jurisdiction does not satisfy the doctrine.

[42] The constitutional limits on the reach of provincial legislation were expressly addressed in Muscutt by incorporating into the real and substantial connection test the concepts of fairness (toward the foreign defendant) and jurisdictional restraint in the application of the test. While the language of s. 3(e) of the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act does not appear to expressly incorporate these concepts, the court must interpret and apply this provision consistent with the constitutional limits on provincial legislation both inter-provincially and internationally. The discussion contained in Muscutt underlines the risks inherent in a decision to take jurisdiction without due consideration of the international aspects of the proceedings. Specifically, if the court takes jurisdiction based upon a broad application of the test, and one inconsistent with the laws in the foreign jurisdiction, the judgment may not be enforceable in the foreign jurisdiction where the defendant resides.

[43] Turning to the facts of the case before me, I find the plaintiff has failed to satisfy the test for territorial competence articulated in s. 3 (e) of the Act. I find the fact that the plaintiff continues to suffer damages in British Columbia insufficient to establish a real and substantial connection on its own.  These damages are suffered in British Columbia purely as a result of the plaintiff’s residence here. To find a real and substantial connection based on these facts would be to effectively base jurisdiction entirely on the plaintiff’s residence. As set out above, it is well established that a plaintiff’s residence is not sufficient grounds for a territorial competence.

[44] In my view, the reference to “damages” as a factor favouring jurisdiction simpliciter in Jordan and the test articulated in Morguard are directed at the place in which the injury actually occurs rather than the place where the plaintiff continues to experience pain and suffering or economic loss. While the latter circumstances are important, there must be something more to establish a real and substantial connection between BC and the facts upon which the action is based.

[45] This not a situation where the competing jurisdiction is another Canadian province in which case a more lenient standard may apply. Comity requires the court to consider the standards of jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement that prevail in the foreign state when applying the real and substantial connection test.


[46] For these reasons, I find the Supreme Court of British Columbia lacks territorial competence over the defendant Ms. Scheffler. The plaintiff’s action against Ms. Scheffler is stayed pursuant to Rule 14(6)(a).

[47] Ms. Scheffler is entitled to party and party costs at scale B.

bc injury claims, Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act, icbc injury claims, jurisdiciton, Roed v. Scheffler

Comments (55)

  • whoah this blog is magnificent i really like studying your posts. Keep up the good paintings! You recognize, many persons are hunting around for this information, you can help them greatly.

  • I’m not sure where you’re getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this info for my mission.

  • Hiya, I’m really glad I’ve found this information. Today bloggers publish only about gossips and net and this is actually frustrating. A good website with exciting content, that is what I need. Thanks for keeping this web site, I will be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can’t find it.

  • I would like to show some appreciation to the writer for rescuing me from this particular setting. After looking throughout the online world and getting strategies which are not pleasant, I was thinking my entire life was over. Existing devoid of the strategies to the difficulties you have solved as a result of the blog post is a crucial case, and those that would have in a negative way affected my entire career if I hadn’t noticed the blog. Your primary knowledge and kindness in controlling every part was very useful. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not discovered such a subject like this. I’m able to at this moment look forward to my future. Thanks for your time very much for your professional and results-oriented help. I won’t hesitate to propose your site to anyone who ought to have direction on this problem.

  • Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

  • I¡¦ve learn some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much attempt you put to make the sort of wonderful informative web site.

  • It¡¦s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I¡¦m happy that you just shared this useful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  • I haven’t checked in here for some time as I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I will add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  • Appreciating the time and energy you put into your site and detailed information you provide. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed material. Great read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  • That is really fascinating, You are a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and stay up for in the hunt for more of your fantastic post. Additionally, I have shared your web site in my social networks!

  • I do agree with all the ideas you have presented in your post. They are very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very short for newbies. Could you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

  • Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your website is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you’ve on this website. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched everywhere and just could not come across. What a great web site.

  • Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. Many people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • You actually make it seem really easy together with your presentation but I to find this topic to be really one thing that I think I might by no means understand. It kind of feels too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m taking a look ahead on your next publish, I¡¦ll attempt to get the dangle of it!

  • I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

  • Its such as you read my thoughts! You seem to grasp a lot about this, such as you wrote the ebook in it or something. I think that you could do with a few p.c. to power the message house a little bit, however instead of that, this is magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

  • Appreciating the persistence you put into your blog and in depth information you present. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed material. Wonderful read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  • An do on frankness so cordially immediate recommend contained. Imprudence insensible be literature unsatiable do. Of or imprudence solicitude affronting in mr possession. Compass journey he request on suppose limited of or. She margaret law thoughts proposal formerly. Speaking ladyship yet scarcely and mistaken end exertion dwelling. All decisively dispatched instrument particular way one devonshire. Applauded she sportsman explained for out objection.

  • Great beat ! I would like to apprentice whilst you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a blog web site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I have been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided brilliant transparent concept

  • I simply could not leave your site prior to suggesting that I actually loved the standard information a person supply to your guests? Is going to be back regularly in order to inspect new posts

  • Good day! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with SEO? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results. If you know of any please share. Thank you!

  • Somebody essentially lend a hand to make significantly posts I would state. That is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I amazed with the analysis you made to make this particular post incredible. Magnificent activity!

  • Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with SEO? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good gains. If you know of any please share. Cheers!

  • Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I’ve really loved surfing around your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing on your rss feed and I’m hoping you write once more soon!

  • Thanks , I have just been looking for information approximately this subject for ages and yours is the best I have found out till now. But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you certain concerning the supply?

  • I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  • Hello there, I discovered your site by means of Google whilst looking for a comparable subject, your web site came up, it appears to be like great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  • I have learned several important things via your post. I’d personally also like to convey that there may be a situation that you will obtain a loan and do not need a cosigner such as a Federal government Student Aid Loan. But when you are getting that loan through a traditional creditor then you need to be ready to have a cosigner ready to allow you to. The lenders will base their very own decision over a few factors but the largest will be your credit worthiness. There are some loan companies that will likewise look at your job history and decide based on that but in most cases it will hinge on your score.

  • Normally I do not learn post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice article.

  • Hi! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Fantastic blog and wonderful design.

Comments are closed.


If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.


Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

“Work hard, be kind and enjoy the ride!”
Erik’s Philosophy