In Armour v. Fuller, 2009 BCSC 409, Mr. Justice Halfyard held that the Supreme Court of British Columbia has jurisdiction to determine the validity if a codicil made in British Columbia, by a resident of British Columbia, but dealing with land in Barbados.
Elizabeth Armour had five children. She signed a will, and four codicils amending her will. She made the fourth codicil while she was living with her daughter, the Defendant Vikki Fuller. The fourth codicil left her villa in Barbados to the Vikki Fuller.
After Elizabeth Armour’s death on May 16, 2007, her other four children sued Vikki Fuller, alleging that the fourth codicil is invalid. They allege that their mother did not have testamentary capacity to make the fourth codicil, and that their sister unduly influenced their mother. If the plaintiff children are successful, the Barbados villa will fall into the residue of Elizabeth Armour’s estate, to be divided equally among her five children.
The defendant Vikki Fuller applied to court for a declaration that the Supreme Court of British Columbia does not have jurisdiction. She argued that both at common law and pursuant to the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act, British Columbia courts do not have jurisdiction. She argued that the validity of the codicil must be dealt with by the courts in Barbados.
The plaintiff’s acknowledged that the law of Barbados will govern the validity of the codicil because it deals with land in Barbados. But the plaintiffs maintained that there is a sufficient connection with British Columbia for the case to be decided here.
Mr. Justice Halfyard agreed with the plaintiffs. There was a real and substantial connection to British Columbia, because Elizabeth Armour signed all of the codicils in British Columbia, and died in British Columbia. All of the relevant events happened in British Columbia.
The plaintiffs also met the provisions of the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act, specifically section 3(d) and (e). The proceeding was brought against a resident of British Columbia, and there is a real and substantial connection to British Columbia.
Accordingly, the lawsuit will be allowed to proceed in British Columbia.
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