Canada, Canadian Charter, Family law, Rulings
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Ruling extends spousal immunity to common-law spouses

The common law rule against spousal compellability must be extended to common-law spouses because otherwise it would result in “blatant discrimination” that cannot be countenanced in the age of the Charter, held the Alberta Court of Appeal in a ruling that will most likely have persuasive authority in spite of a bill introduced in Parliament that will abolish spousal immunity, according to legal experts.

In a unanimous ruling described by legal observers as very well-written and well-reasoned, the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld a lower court decision that concluded that the existing common law rule was discriminatory and inconsistent with modern values of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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This story was originally published in The Lawyers Weekly.

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