Thursday, August 30, 2012

Supreme Court of Canada Won't Hear Appeal in Mawdsley v. Meshen

The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed the application by Dennis Mawdsley to appeal the British Columbia Court of Appeal decision in Mawdsley v. Meshen, 2012 BCCA 91.

The case is a significant one on the issue of the application of the Fraudulent Conveyance Act to gratuitious transfers of property as part of an estate plan that have the effect of depleting the transferror's estate, which reduces the assets available to satisfy a Wills Variation Act claim by a spouse or child.

In Mawdsley the Madam Justice Ballance in the Supreme Court of Britsih Columbia held that when Joan Meshen transferred a substantial portion of her wealth into a trust for the benefit of herself, her children and her brother-in-law, she did not do so to delay, hinder or defraud her common-law spouse, Dennis Mawdsley, who after her death, applied to vary her will to provide him with a greater portion of her estate. He was successful in varying the will, but the assets Ms. Meshen had transferred into a trust were not part of her estate. The Court of Appeal upheld the Supreme Court of British Columbia's decision, and held that because Mr. Mawdsley's only valid claim was a Wills Variation Act claim that arose on Ms. Meshen's death, he was not a "creditor or other," for whom the transfer could be set aside as a fraudulent conveyance under the legislation.

I have written about the Supreme Court of British Columbia decision here, and the Court of Appeal decision here.

The Supreme Court of Canada only hears a limited number of cases, generally ones that it considers to be of significant public importance or that raise a legal issue that it considers sufficiently important for the Supreme Court of Canada to decide. In civil cases, a party who wishes to appeal a decision of a provincial court of appeal must first apply for leave to appeal.

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