Tezcan v. Tezcan: Choice of Law in Matrimonial Property

Vaughan Black


Most of the provincial statutes dealing with disposition of matrimonial property on marital breakdown feature an express choice of law provision. And although it is open to each provincial legislature to select its own choice of law test, there is one solution which has won overwhelming acceptance. Virtually all of those statutes prescribe that, in the absence of a written contract to the contrary, the question of division of property be dealt with by the law of the last common habitual residence of the parties.However, the matrimonial property statutes of two provinces are silent on the choice of law question. In Saskatchewan and British Columbia, the relevant legislation contains no provision for geographically complex cases, and consequently the courts of those provinces have been left to resolve the choice of law problem on their own. Over the years, this has resulted in some inconsistent responses from British Columbia trial courts,3 but with its unanimous judgment in Tezcan v. Tezcan the British Columbia Court of Appeal has provided some clear guidance on the question, at least for that province.


Family Law; Real Property

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