Thursday, January 24, 2008

Joint Sitting of B.C. Courts to Honour the Late Allan McEachern

There is a special joint sitting of the British Columbia Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of British Columbia tomorrow to honour Allan McEachern (1926-2008) who served as Chief Justice of British Columbia and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The sitting is at the Vancouver Law Courts in the Great Hall at 4:30 pm, Friday, January 25, 2008. This sitting will be linked by video to the Courthouses in Kelowna, Victoria and Prince George.

You may read some information on Mr. McEachern on the The Law Society of British Columbia website. I am going to quote a passage from the President of the Law Society, John Hunter QC's statement, which, as a legal blogger, I find inspiring:

'One of Mr. McEachern's greatest achievements was to open up the courts not just to the people of BC, but to the entire world via the internet,' Mr. Hunter said. 'In 1996, he pushed the courts to develop a website and to post judgments so the public could have instant, cost-effective access to legal decisions. Then he went a step further by hosting his own website and inviting the public to email their questions about the legal system. He was certainly the first chief justice in Canada -- if not the first judge in the world -- to step out of judicial cloisters and make himself accessible to everyone through the internet.'

I can think of at least a couple of notable estate litigation judgments written by Justice McEachern. One of them is his concurring judgment as Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal in Clarkson v. McCrossen, (1995), 3 B.C.L.R. (3d) 80, which deals with an unjust enrichment claim by a step child. He also wrote a frequently cited judgment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in an undue influence, and wills variation case called Dalziel v. Bradford (1985), 62 B.C.L.R. 215

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