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December 2017
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Over the years, I have assisted vehicle owners in getting their vehicles back from parties (lien claimants) who have allegedly repaired, stored or towed their vehicle. These owners have never agreed to the amount(s) charged by the lien claimant, or someone else had their vehicle and caused the alleged amount(s) to be owed to the lien claimant.
Under the Repair and Storage Liens Act (RSLA), those who repair, store or tow a vehicle are entitled to register a lien against the title of that vehicle if payment is not made to them for their services.

There are times however, that you don’t agree with the charges and a lien claimant has possession of your vehicle, but want your car back. What do you do?

In order to get your vehicle back from a lien claimant, you are first required must pay the amount claimed into Court under Section 24 of the RSLA. By paying the amount(s) into Court, the lien claimant’s rights transfer from your vehicle to the money you paid into Court.

In addition to paying in the money into Court, an Application for Initial Certificate under Section 24 must be filed and served on the lien claimant. They must then either file an Objection, where you would then be required to pay an additional amount into Court or, within 3 days, the lien claimant must return the vehicle to you.

If an Objection is filed, and you paid the additional amount into Court, a Final Certificate is then issued by the Court which you serve on the lien claimant, who then must immediately return the vehicle to you. If they refuse to deliver the vehicle to you, a Writ of Seizure is filed with the Sheriff which allows them to get your vehicle back from them.

It is then up to the lien claimant who is claiming a right to the money you paid into Court to proceed with legal action against you for that money. If you do not get sued within ninety days, you can file a Motion with the Court and get that money back.

If you are sued for that money, it proceeds like a regular court action.

If you find yourself in a similar situation where a party has possession of your vehicle and is claiming lien rights, and you do not agree with those charges, reach out to us, and we will be more than happy to help get your vehicle back.

Murray Brown, Paralegal

In the Province of Ontario there is a lot of talk about Access to Justice and concern about how many self-represented litigants there are in the Courts.

One of the solutions has been to increase the number of lawyers in the Province. Not surprising to me, this has not resulted in more people being represented by lawyers in Court.

There are competitions to see how technology can improve Access to Justice. Not surprising to me, this has also not resulted in more people being represented, nor better prepared for Court.

The same people who claim that lawyers are too expensive to retain for their Family Law matter are driving around in expensive cars and taking a sun drenched vacation. It’s not that people cannot afford lawyers, per se, it’s that they choose not to spend their money on retaining lawyers. Why? They don’t see the value in retaining a lawyer.

This leads me to believe that a possible solution to Access to Justice is to educate people why retaining a lawyer is worth the money. Maybe the year you’re getting divorced, you spend your vacation dollars on a lawyer and get an enforceable custody agreement?

Maybe when you’re starting a new business, you buy some clothes at Winners, instead of Saks and talk to a lawyer about what you need to do from a legal point of view. That will save you a tonne of clothing money in the future, when you’re not spending money on litigation or bankruptcy trustee fees.

There is value in paying a good lawyer. Unfortunately for us good lawyers, the bad apples are dominating the news and the public is jaded. It’s time for us to step up and explain how retaining a lawyer IS the answer to Access to Justice.

Inga B. Andriessen JD

When spouses decide to prepare their wills together, there may be a concern that once one of the spouses die and the surviving spouse later remarries, that the surviving spouse may not live up to the joint intentions and promises she or he made to the deceased spouse on how their estates should be divided. This concern often occurs for married couples who were previously married with children from their first marriages. There may be a concern that the surviving spouse may later decide to change his or her will and shut out the deceased spouse’s children from the first marriage or a concern that the surviving spouse later remarries and does not adequately provide for their children.

So what can a married couple do to ensure that the surviving spouse adheres to their shared intentions and to ensure that the deceased spouse’s property goes to his or hers desired beneficiaries?

One tool that can be used to minimize the risk of a surviving spouse from not honouring the shared intentions is to have both spouses enter into a Mutual Wills Agreement (“MWA”). An MWA is a contract whereby both spouses agree to not change or revoke their will without notice to the other spouse. Once the MWA is signed by both spouses and one of the spouses dies, the agreement becomes irrevocable and cannot be changed unless the change occurs by way of law or if the MWA itself permits specific instances of change.

If you have any questions about your estate planning needs or any questions about a Mutual Will Agreement and how it may help protect your estate, feel free to connect with us to learn more.

Michelle Eames, LLB, LLM