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Inventory of Reforms

The Matrimonial Property Act: A Case Law Review


The Alberta Law Reform Institute proposed the legislation that became the Matrimonial Property Act (MPA) more than 30 years ago and there has been no substantive amendment to the MPA since then. ALRI has received suggestions that the legislation is in need of revision but there was little consensus as to which areas were in need of review. In order to advance the research, ALRI financed the work of Annie Voss-Altman, a student at the Faculty of Law, University of Calgary, under the supervision of Professor Jonnette Watson Hamilton. It was hoped that their 10 year review of judicial decisions would identify any areas where reform would clarify policy or resolve problematic issues. ALRI’s Director reviewed the initial sample cases and the categories contained in the database.



Body Responsible:
Alberta Law Reform Institute

Jonnette Watson Hamilton and Annie Voss-Altman The Matrimonial Property Act: A Case Law Review – Alberta Law Reform Institute

The purpose of this case law review was to identify the most frequently raised and the most troublesome issues that the courts dealt with in order to determine whether revisions to the MPA might be necessary. In addition, we identified rules and presumptions that have been used by the courts to supplement the MPA as their existence might point to gaps in the legislation.

Criteria and Methods of Evaluation:

“We have prioritized what we see as the six major issues, but we also mention seven other issues. Issues are classified as “major” when they arise frequently, have multiple sub-issues, and have no obvious or easy solutions. We put the other issues in a separate category when their resolution appears to be easier, or a matter for the federal government, or already under investigation by a law reform organization, or fewer people appear to be affected. ”

Revision History:
This summary was last reviewed in Aug 16, 2012