On October 28th, 1998, a proposed class action was commenced against the BC government for a declaration that the government’s collection of probate fees was unconstitutional, and for return of the probate monies paid by executors of BC estates after April 1st, 1997.
In a decision of Mr. Justice Pitfield dated March 14th. 1999, the Supreme Court of British Columbia certified that this lawsuit as a class action and ruled that Alfreda Howard could act as the representative plaintiff.
The government then passed the Probate Fee Act which reasserted the Government’s’ right to tax the probate of wills. The Act also purported to legitimize the Governments’ collection of the unconstitutional fees back to 1998 and takes away the right of individuals to sue the Government to recover funds paid in satisfaction of those fees.
Given this legislative change, it was determined that the action should be discontinued.