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Category Archives: Real Property

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Can a Party get Special Costs based on Pre-Litigation Conduct?

Posted in Case Comments, Procedure, Real Property

In Smithies Holdings Inc. v. RCV Holdings Ltd., 2017 BCCA 177, the BC Court of Appeal considered whether special costs can be awarded based on pre-litigation conduct.  The Court reviewed the conflicting jurisprudence and unanimously concluded that a bright line should be drawn: pre-litigation conduct should not be considered in determining whether to award special costs.

This case involved the termination of a joint venture agreement related to the development of a parcel of land. The respondent withdrew from the joint venture, triggering an option for the appellants to purchase the respondent’s interest in the land based on the … Continue Reading

You Only Get to Eat What You Kill: Real Estate Brokers as Hunters and Brokerage Contracts as Hunting Licences

Posted in Case Comments, Civil Litigation, Real Property

Anyone involved or interested in commercial real estate should be aware of the relatively recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in Société en commandite Place Mullins v Services immobiliers Diane Bisson inc, mentioned briefly in two prior blog posts, here and here. Although the Supreme Court reviewed a decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal involving a standard brokerage agreement in Quebec, the decision may arguably have wider application, including in Alberta.

In a unanimous decision authored by Wagner J. the Court explains well what constitutes an “agreement to sell” in the context of a … Continue Reading

The Crucial Distinction Between Carrots and Sticks: Incentives and Penalties in the Interpretation of the Interest Act

Posted in Real Property

Do incentives for prompt payment in a mortgage, which would be lost on default, run afoul of the prohibition against penalties for non-performance contained in s.8 of the Interest Act? The Alberta Court of Appeal recently split over this question, with the majority saying no. This case could affect the structure of mortgages in Alberta, encouraging the use of “non-penal” devices to ensure performance that may be difficult to distinguish, in operation, from penalties.

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