What is the test for constructive trust and unjust enrichment in the context of the Malahat property matter?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from Hughes v. Miller et al, 2007 BCCA 116 (CanLII):

As the trial judge observed, a salient circumstance of the present case is that the Malahat property came to the defendant via the route of inheritance. That makes this case different from the majority of cases wherein the principles of unjust enrichment and constructive trust in domestic situations have been developed by courts over the past 25 years. It is, for instance, much different from the situation in the leading case of Peter v. Beblow, 1993 CanLII 126 (SCC), [1993] 1 S.C.R. 980, 101 D.L.R. (4th) 621, where the parties lived together and jointly built up assets over many years. In that case, the plaintiff had contributed nothing to the acquisition of the family home. However, the court awarded her a remedy in constructive trust based on her direct contributions, through homemaking and other activities, to preserving and maintaining the property for the duration of the 12-year relationship, by the end of which the property’s value had increased substantially.

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