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Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 09:37

From: Russell Brown

Subject: Possible SCC case on vicarious liability in 2008?


Dear colleagues,

The case of Transportaction Lease Systems Inc. v. Jennifer Yeung (Yeung v. Au), must have slipped past me when the SCC granted leave to appeal in February. (The hearing is set for October 16, 2007). The British Columbia Court of Appeal's pronouncement is available here.

The narrow issue goes to section 86 of British Columbia's Motor Vehicle Act, which holds owners liable where a vehicle owner's family member or another person with the owner's express or implied consent to possess the vehicle causes damage to another person while operating the vehicle. (This is the equivalent of, i.e., section 192 of Ontario's Highway Traffic Act). More specifically, the case addresses the statutory exception where the vehicle has been sold as is in the possession of a purchaser under a conditional sale contract (where title remains in the seller in the interim).

The case does, however, give the Supreme Court an opportunity to consider again the general question of vicarious liability. The Court of Appeal quoted at length from Bazley v. Curry as embodying the objectives of section 86. Depending on how they approach it, any general comments on vicarious liability might be obiter, but any student of tort cases at the SCC knows (at least in factual causation), life would be dull without obiter.


With best wishes,



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