On June 11th, 2010 counsel for the Diocese of New Westminster appeared before Justice Stephen Kelleher of the BC Supreme Court in the case concerning church properties seeking an Order as to costs arising from the Judgment granted November 25, 2009, as well as further Directions as to compliance by the trustees of the Parish Corporations with the Orders granted at that time.
The Plaintiffs (Trustees) have appealed that earlier decision and this be argued in the BC Court of Appeal commencing September 13, 2010.
In supplementary Oral Reasons for Judgment issued on June 29, 2010, Justice Kelleher awarded costs to the Diocese of New Westminster (the Defendants) and upheld the directions sought by the Diocese. In doing so, Justice Kelleher reiterated that trustees are required to exercise their powers in accordance with the Diocesan Constitution and Canons. This means that, pending the election of new trustees, the trustees at St. Matthew’s Abbotsford must respond to the Defendants’ request to hold one service per week celebrated by a priest chosen by the Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster.
Justice Kelleher also determined that because the Plaintiffs were not acting as trustees – they were rather acting for the benefit of the Anglican Network in Canada, and were seeking to remove property from the Diocese – they were not entitled to be indemnified out of the assets of the Parish Corporations for either their own legal fees or the costs awarded to the Diocese.
Costs payable by the Plaintiffs personally are estimated to be in the $110,000 – $120,000 range. On July 27th, the Plaintiffs filed applications in the Court of Appeal to amend their Notices of Appeal to appeal from the costs order of June 29th, 2010.
Counsel for the Diocese has now written to counsel for the Plaintiffs outlining the Bishop’s intention to hold a Eucharist at St. Matthew’s Abbotsford, on Sunday, August 29th at 8am with a priest licensed by the Bishop presiding. The Diocese has asked that the Trustees or their representatives respond to this request by August 4th, 2010.