BC Supreme Court Declines Jurisdiction in Out of Province Sexual Abuse Action


Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, addressing the jurisdiction of the BC Supreme Court to hear a claim involving alleged sexual abuse which took place out of  Province.
In this week’s case (TC v. AM) the Plaintiff sued her former father in law in the BC Supreme Court claiming he sexually abused her in Montreal.  The Defendant, at all material times, lived in Montreal and continued to reside there when the lawsuit started.  He did not respond to the lawsuit.  The Court ultimately found that no jurisdiction existed to hear this case pursuant to the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act.  In doing so the Mr. Justice Harvey provided the following reasons:





[8] None of the presumptive categories under s. 10 of the CJPTA apply in these circumstances; however, the language of s. 10 clearly indicates that those categories do not limit “the right of the plaintiff to prove other circumstances that constitute a real and substantial connection between British Columbia and the facts on which a proceeding is based.”

[9] The common law threshold for a real and substantial connection is high. In Josephson v. Balfour Recreation Commission, 2010 BCSC 603, Loo J. stated:

[79] The real and substantial connection test requires that there be a significant or substantial connection: Beals v. Saldanha, [2003] 3 S.C.R. 416; and UniNet Technologies Inc. v. Communication Services Inc., 2005 BCCA 114.

[10] The jurisprudence in British Columbia suggests that the mere residence of the plaintiff in British Columbia is not sufficient to establish jurisdiction over a defendant resident outside of the province. Something more is required. This was discussed in Dembroski v. Rhainds, 2011 BCCA 185, where Hall J. referred to the decision of Bruce J. in Roed v. Scheffler, 2009 BCSC 731…

[11] This case lacks the additional element, beyond the mere residence of the plaintiff in this jurisdiction, to support a finding that there is a real and substantial connection between British Columbia and the facts on which a proceeding is based. The action concerns allegations of sexual assault in Quebec in relation to a defendant who continues to reside in Quebec. There is not a “significant connection” as required by the Supreme Court of Canada in Beals v. Saldanha, [2003] 3 S.C.R. 416.

[12] That the plaintiff suffers damages here is, as was the case in Roed, purely as a result of her residence in British Columbia. As stated by Dickson J. in Moran v. Pyle National (Canada) Ltd., [1975] 1 S.C.R. 393, and referred to in Dembroski, if the essence of a tort is injury, “a paramount factor in determining situs must be the place of the invasion of one’s right to bodily security.” That location in this case is Quebec. The motor vehicle scenarios in Roed and Dembroski are analogous for the purposes of determining territorial competence, as they concern tortious conduct in another jurisdiction. The presence of the plaintiff in British Columbia alone does not establish a real and substantial connection in relation to events that occurred in another jurisdiction where the defendant continues to reside.

[13] Accordingly, I dismiss the plaintiff’s application.





CJPTA, Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act, jurisdiciton, Mr. Justice Harvey, Real and Substantial Connection, TC v. AM

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ERIK
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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.

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