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Registered Owner of Vehicle Responsible for Injury Despite Licence Plates

 
Appellant wins as Court of Appeal overturned a trial judges decision defining the meaning of “owner” in the Yukon.( Aucoin v. Shepherd, 2013 YKCA 1) . The second owner purchased a motor vehicle from the first owner, who was the original  registered owner of the vehicle.  the first owner signed and gave the second owner the required transfer papers and the only set of keys to the vehicle.  The second owner paid for and took possession of the vehicle but did not remove the old  licence plates.
The vehicle was involved in an accident and another driver was injured and sued for personal injury damages.  At a summary trial, a  chambers judge was asked to determine whether first owner was an owner of the vehicle at the time of the accident.  He held that the first owner was still the owner at the time of the car accident.  However, the Court of Appeal found that the trial judge was wrong and overturned the decision.
A person, who is an owner at common law, must register to drive in the Yukon.  There may be a registered owner from whom ownership has passed and who no longer is an owner by definition, but the actual owner is a person who is required to be registered and is by definition an owner.
Note to the readers. British Columbia has different legislation than the Yukon and the Motor Vehicle Act in BC, section 83 defines an owner as follows:

“owner” includes

(a) a person in possession of a motor vehicle under a contract by which the person may become the owner on full compliance with the contract, and in whose name alone the motor vehicle is registered, and

(b) a person who rents or leases a motor vehicle from another person

Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A., LL.B.

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