An unconscionable bargain

Generally speaking, the law will not protect you from making a bad bargain.  However, when a transaction is so grossly unfair to one party and was obtained through an unfair advantage by the other party, the legal doctrine of unconscionability may be used to set it aside.  In my practice, most often the issue comes […] Read More

Contractor Know Thyself: If you don’t, you may lose your lien

AUTHORED BY: Ryan Krushelnitzky Builders’ liens are “creatures of statute”. A builders’ lien is a new right created by lien legislation that would not otherwise exist at common law.  As such, a lien claimant must bring itself strictly within the statutory framework in order to take advantage of these statutory rights. Justice Khullar’s recent Advantage […] Read More
January 23, 2018

Fatal Errors: The small mistakes that can have a big impact on your lien claim

AUTHORED BY: Matthew Turzansky and Ryan Krushelnitzky The scenario is a fairly common one: a contractor doesn’t get paid, and then proceeds to register a lien on a project, only to later discover a mistake in the Statement of Lien. It could be a typo in the name of the Owner; or it could be […] Read More

Termination Problems: when can you walk away from a contract?

AUTHORED BY: Leah McDaniel and Ryan Krushelnitzky Construction projects don’t always go as planned. Delays, add-ons, and changes to plans are common. Parties can sue when losses occur. When this happens, the contract itself is the key guide to the parties’ obligations. However, sometimes things go very wrong. There are times when matters go so […] Read More
December 21, 2017

Unilaterally amending payment terms by conduct alone…Nice try!

By: Catriona Otto-Johnston and Rob Watson As a contractor, you might find yourself in a situation where the method for calculating payment originally agreed to in the contract becomes unworkable with the actual project scope or existing work-site conditions. Perhaps it would be beneficial to you if the contract contained different payment terms. While a […] Read More

The devil is in the drafting: is an estate entitled to spousal support payments?

The recent Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench decision in Marasse Estate (Re), 2017 ABQB 706 is yet another reminder that drafting legal documents must be done carefully and with a view to their long-term effect. The main issue in this case was whether the surviving ex-spouse was obligated to continue paying spousal support to his […] Read More

It’s your funeral, but who calls the shots?

If you have a will, you may have spelled out your detailed wishes for your funeral in the document.  Would you be surprised to know that your personal representative does not have to follow them?  You may have also heard that funeral expenses get paid out from an estate in priority to all other expenses.  […] Read More

You can ask for advice and directions

Acting as an executor or personal representative is a challenging job.  A personal representative is expected to follow the terms of a will, trust document or Court order and to do so prudently and competently.  Sometimes, the testator or the settlor of a trust adds to an already difficult job by creating an unclear will […] Read More

Time is Tickin’ — Limitation Periods and Your Lien

Contributors: Catriona Otto-Johnston & Kendra Heinz You’ve registered a lien; now what? You have to preserve (and prove) your lien. The Builders’ Lien Act (the “BLA”) is rife with limitation periods, many of which, if missed, could jeopardize your lien. However, recent case law suggests that in certain circumstances, failure to meet one or more […] Read More
September 20, 2017

Tips & Traps – Partial Payment from the 10% Holdback

By Catriona Otto-Johnston and Rob Watson Setting the lien fund can be a complicated and drawn out process. As a subcontractor lienholder, you may find you are standing idly by for payment while the owner and the GC fight amongst themselves. Can you receive partial payment for your work before the lien fund is finalized? […] Read More