Henderson Heinrichs LLP

Joining Provincial and Supreme Court actions

Kevin Heinrichs

Written by: Kevin Heinrichs (View All Posts • View Bio ) Published: September 9, 2010

Categorized: Case Analysis, Procedure.

In a situation where two different family law actions have been commenced dealing with the same parties – one in B.C. Provincial Court and the other in the Supreme Court of British Columbia – it is often the case that a party may wish the matters to be unified and joined in a single court.  A shift from one court to another can have financial and strategic ramifications and the question is therefore raised, how can this be accomplished?  In the recent B.C. Provincial Court of B.C. case of  R.(J.A.) v. K.(K.M.), 2010 CarswellBC 1629, 2010 BCPC 98, Judge E. Rae clarified that the Provincial Court has no power to transfer an action to the Supreme Court.  She succinctly noted that “The Provincial Court is a Court of statutory jurisdiction, and any authority to transfer the file to the Supreme Court must come from a statute or a rule” (paragraph 5).  She then went on to find that there was not statutory jurisdiction or legislation permitting the court to enable that transfer and that, “It may be open to the Supreme Court to assume jurisdiction over the matter, given that they have inherent jurisdiction and parens patriae jurisdiction, but that is a decision that must be made by the Supreme Court.” (paragraph 12).  In short, while the actions may be transfered and joined, the ruling has to come from the Supreme rather than from the Provincial Court.

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