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The Need for Uniform Jurisdiction and Choice of Law Rules in Domestic Property Proceedings

When a family property dispute ends up before the court, the division of property can be an expensive and time-consuming process. The difficulties associated with a trial create hardships for all parties involved, whether directly or indirectly. These difficulties are compounded when issues of jurisdiction and choice of law arise in the proceedings. With the increasing mobility of the population, more and more families have lived or held assets in other provinces, territories, and countries. In such situations, two questions arise when a court is called to divide the assets of the marriage: Does the court have jurisdiction to hear the case? If it does, which law should it choose to apply? The legal problems generally arising out of such situations are called conflicts of law. The rules available to guide judges through these situations are unsatisfactory, especially in British Columbia. This project considers reforms to these rules proposed in 1997 by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada.

Keywords: conflict of laws, court jurisdiction, choice of law, courts & tribunals, family law, divorce and separation, domestic property, division of property, Uniform Law Conference of Canada

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