In Alberta, there is no Right to Jury Trial Where Defendant Raises Equitable Defence

02. October 2013 0

In Alberta there is no right to jury trial where defendant raises equitable defence.

Coulter v. Co-operators Life Insurance Co., [2013] A.J. No. 919, September 6, 2013, Alberta Court of Appeal, J.E.L. Côté, B.K. O’Ferrall and B.L. Veldhuis JJ.A.

The plaintiff brought an action against an insurer on a life insurance policy. The insurers raised a defence that the insurance policy sued on was obtained by misrepresentation. The plaintiff sought a jury trial.  The chambers judge held that the insurer’s defence excluded a jury because it is an equitable defence and courts of equity do not use juries.

The Court of Appeal upheld the chambers judge on the basis that the right to a jury in Alberta is purely statutory and equitable remedies do not fit within the statutory right to a jury. The Court held that equitable remedies are unsuited to juries and therefore the appeal was dismissed.

This case was originally summarized by Cameron B. Elder and originally edited by David W. Pilley of Harper Grey LLP.

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