Public Dimensions of Private Law
- Skwarok v. Werbenuk Estate (2010)
o A father died and his money has to be distributed. He has three daughters and one son.
In his will, the father stated that the son gets everything and the daughters get nothing.
In court it turns out that the person who died was extremely sexist! He gave all the
importance to his son and degraded his daughters at every opportunity he gets. In his
will the old man mentioned that since the son had looked after him the longest he
should deserve the money. He said that the first and second daughters already got some
money when the old man was alive. The third daughter didn’t want to do anything with
him so she was out automatically. The daughters then challenged the will in the court.
(It was his money not the governments, so why should the government get involved?).
(There is also a statue that says that you have to provide for your child till the child is old
enough to be independent and does not have to depend on the state). In BC there is a
statutory law regarding will. The judge said that the old man did not act in the society’s
standards and values and therefore his will does not count as he stated. Therefore the
assets were divided four ways and the amount of money the girls received earlier was
subtracted. (Was this fair?)
Categories of Law
- Categories of Private law:
o Tort: an actionable wrong committed against the person, property or reputation of
another for which a remedy is provided. You just need to convince the judge that what
was done was wrong to you and if the judge has remedy for it then it falls under the
category of tort. The judge has to put the offender to put me in the place that I would
be in had the wrong was not committed. In private law there is somewhat of a 50-50
probability on proving something (therefore if a person is found 51% guilty then they
have to pay the price) whereas for criminal law you have to be 100% sure or almost
100% sure that the crime was committed. Therefore private laws have considerably
lower standards than criminal laws (criminal laws are way more serious).
Assault and battery, trespassing, defamation, kidnapping or negligence
o Contract law: Binding legal agreements made by mutual consent. You and other person
(s) create an agreement or a contract and if that contract is broken then it can be taken
o Family law: Marriage and divorce, custody, support payments
o Property law: Laws relating to rights in something (ownership). Can be real property
(land), personal property and more (intellectual property).
- Categories of Public law:
o READ LECTURE SLIDES
Is there a rights-infringement?
- Look to the text to the right
o Usually interpreted broadly
o You have to convince the court that the right has been violated. The pressure is on you