Byrn v. Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP

NST acted for one of British Columbia’s leading law firms in successfully defending an action for professional negligence. Mr. MacInnis successfully applied to have the claim dismissed at an early stage, and then successfully defended the result on an appeal before the British Columbia Court of Appeal and on a leave application to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant law firm, in acting for her mother in the 1980s, had failed to take steps to follow her mother’s alleged instruction to sever joint tenancy with her father in the matrimonial home. The plaintiff argued that she had been denied an interest in the property on intestacy when the entire property was transferred to her father when her mother died. The Court of Appeal held that the law firm owed no duty of care to the plaintiff. If there was a claim, it belonged to the mother’s estate, and the “Wills exception,” which allowed beneficiaries to sue solicitors in some circumstances, did not apply.

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