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Lorne MacLean, Q. C.

"

Practising family law is more than a career – it’s my calling. I thrive on helping people move forward. I have and will go to the Supreme Court of Canada to achieve a fair and positive result for my client.

"

Lorne MacLean, Q.C. (Queen’s Counsel) is the founder of top-rated* MacLean Law and one of Canada’s most experienced and highly rated family lawyers dedicated to family law and divorce in British Columbia. Lorne has successfully protected clients’ rights since 1983 in the field of high net worth and complex family law disputes, dealing with issues such as spousal and child support, property division, child custody, guardianship and access, and marriage-like relationships. He has earned a reputation as a tough yet thoughtful advocate for his clients.

Lorne MacLean’s Q.C. designation is an honour that recognizes his exceptional merit and contribution to the BC legal profession.

Lorne has had the rare honour of making two appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of the appellants in complex family law cases. Young v. Young remains the leading case on child custody in Canada and Leskun v. Leskun established key principles to be applied to spousal support decisions and when support can be reviewed. He also successfully represented Juanita Nott in Canada’s first frozen embryo custody dispute.

Lorne’s most recent high net asset victory includes a record 2019 victory in Devathasan v Devathasan where over $116,000 of combined child and spousal support was awarded along with $20,000 million of property, over $6,000,000 of lump sum support and $1.5 million of special costs. Other major wins include a 2019 win in the BC Court of Appeal in Li v. Rao – a high profile multimillion dollar void marriage family case and Lightle v. Kotar where spousal support was nearly tripled and a stock broker’s book of business was deemed family property for the first time.

In addition to his courtroom work, Lorne MacLean has published prolifically on numerous topics relating to BC family law and BC divorce. He is a video and blog author and frequent guest on radio and television shows, including Judge Harvey Brownstone’s popular legal education show “Family Matters.” A sought-after resource for both Canadian and US magazines and newspapers, he has also served as a guest lecturer at the UBC Law School and has lectured and been interviewed about his multiple innovations in the efficient delivery of client-based services that increase clients’ participation in – and reduce clients’ costs of their cases. He also provides considerable free family law information to the general public.

Lorne MacLean lives life to the fullest, loves jazz music, strategy games, and travelling with his family. He especially loves to find the “hidden gems” in the cities he visits on his world travels. Along with keeping his mind sharp, Lorne is avid about keeping physically healthy with bootcamps and cross-fit.


SELECTED DECISIONS

Supreme Court of Canada Cases

Kotar v Lightle. 2015 SCC
Successfully dismissed a Supreme Court of Canada leave to appeal on the high net worth financial family property and support issue of a stockbroker’s book of business which sent shockwaves throughout the stockbroker community.
Family law – Family assets – Division – Valuation – Book of business:
– Whether a “book of business” arising out of a spouse’s employment as an investment advisor is family property, and if so, whether and how to determine and realize its value;
– Whether a party who fails to introduce admissible expert opinion evidence as to the value of property at trial should be granted a “second trial” to introduce such evidence;
– Whether fictional assumption imposed for the purpose of valuation is supportable at law, and;
– Whether the purpose of family law legislation in British Columbia is to address the disproportionate effects of marriage upon the ability of child-rearing spouses to become independent following the dissolution of marriage.

Leskun v. Leskun, 2006 SCC 25
Established key principles for spousal support decisions.

Young v. Young, 1993 4 S.C.R. 3
Successfully represented wife on leading Canadian case on child custody, guardianship and special costs.

British Columbia Court of Appeal Cases

Li v Rao, 2019 BCCA 265
Lorne MacLean, QC won at trial and in the BC Court of Appeal on a multimillion dollar international divorce case. Appeal from dismissal of application to strike claim for division of property and spousal support under Family Law Act. Appellant argued the judge erred in concluding that a party to a marriage that is declared void ab initio is a “spouse” within the meaning of the Family Law Act. Held: Appeal dismissed. The judge did not err in interpreting the definition of “spouse”. Parties to a marriage that is declared void ab initio remain entitled to division of family property and spousal support under the Family Law Act.

Devathasan v. Devathasan, 2019 BCSC 661
Record breaking international divorce and family law Trial judgment with client obtaining 20 million plus of family property, $100,000 a month spousal support, nearly $17,000 child support for 1 child, retroactive and lump sum support of roughly $6 million and 100% indemnity for special costs in the amount of 1.5 million.

Devathasan v. Devathasan, 2017 BCSC 1010
Successfully obtained Worldwide Mareva injunction on nearly 50 million of family property located in Canada the US, Singapore and Southeast Asia. Record Canadian interim spousal support of over $83,000 a month and child support for 1 child of over $21,000 a month. Lifetime protection order to protect mother and children.

Solis v. Tibbo Lenoski, 2015 BCCA 531
The appellant father applies for a stay of proceedings on a judgment of this Court pending his application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The appeal concerns the interpretation of Article 13(b) of the Hague Convention. The father had removed his twin boys from their habitual residence with their mother in Mexico. One of the boys, D, has autism and is undergoing intensive autism treatment in Vancouver. The father claimed that the unavailability of appropriate autism therapy in Mexico engaged the grave risk of harm exception in Article 13(b). The chambers judge ordered the boys to be returned to Mexico and this Court upheld that decision. Held: application allowed. With respect to the merits of the appeal, there is a sufficient likelihood that the Supreme Court of Canada might grant leave to appeal. As for irreparable harm, the findings of fact of the chambers judge suggest that D may suffer serious harm if he is returned to Mexico and any such harm would likely be irreparable given the time sensitive nature of his treatment. Finally, the balance of inconvenience favours granting a stay.

Dominak v. Lockhart, 2014 BCCA 432
Successfully acted for a senior family lawyer who was alleged to have reached a settlement by way of letters between counsel.
Appeal from an order staying family law proceedings on the basis that an enforceable settlement agreement had been reached. The appellant argued that the parties had not agreed on the issue of the division of family assets and there was no binding agreement. The chambers judge excluded the first two pages of the letter proposing the settlement as “campaign talk”, and found an “objectively reasonable” settlement in the terms set out on the third page only. Held: appeal allowed. There was no binding agreement. The parties had not agreed on the important issue of the division of assets. The chambers judge failed to consider all of the evidence of all of the material facts and to determine the entire scope of the settlement.

Moradkhan v. Mofidi, 2013 BCCA 132
Lorne MacLean, QC successfully obtained a new trial after a previously unrepresented husband had failed to have lucrative real estate holdings to be valued by a certified business expert such that the value used initially was only half of the true value resulted in substantially increased monies for the husband.

Johnston v. Embree, 2013 BCCA 74
Biological father ordered to meet child support obligations while child is with a step-parent.

Richardson v. Richardson, 2013 BCCA 378
Successful appeal to increase retroactive award for support and to establish law in Canada on how corporate income related to real estate holdings is calculated.

Yassin v. Loubani, 2006 BCCA 509
Represented husband from Saudi Arabia who sought return of Saudi citizen children taken to Canada by wife.

British Columbia Supreme Court Cases

Kotar v Lightle. 2015 SCC
Successfully dismissed a Supreme Court of Canada leave to appeal on the high net worth financial family property and support issue of a stockbroker’s book of business which sent shockwaves thought the stockbroker community.

A.R.J. v. Z.S.J., 2009 BCSC 1662
One of BC’s highest combined support judgments.

Mills v. Eglin, 2009 BCSC 1595
Termination of spousal support.


PRESS
Months to marry and years to split as Chinese millionaire battles Vegas spouse
BC Void Marriages Family Law Act
Vancouver Sun – Ian Mulgrew: Wife wins $100,000 monthly support, plus millions more
BNN Bloomberg – How wealthy singles can protect their riches from partners looking for a payout
Business in Vancouver – Superboomers go bust

Education

1982: Juris Doctorate (J.D.), Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, ON
1979: B.Sc., University of British Columbia

credentials

1983: British Columbia Bar

recent cases
A successful Anton Pillar raid that discovered millions in missing cash.
Successfully obtained a forensic audit at the expense of the non-disclosing party to get to the bottom of their real income and assets.
Successfully obtained a world wide freezing order called a "Mareva Injunction" in an international and interjurisdictional dispute case involving income and assets around the world.
Obtained a Western Canadian record high interim support payment of over $83,000 per month.
Obtained a record Trial award of support of over $116,000 per month.
Obtained a record high lump sum support payment in excess of $5 million.
Jailed a non disclosing spouse for contempt on an interim basis.
Obtained a number of special costs awards against spouses who acted egregiously in their family matters.
Obtained an interim order protecting frozen embryos from destruction.
Helped establish principles on how void marriages are treated under the Family Law Act.
professional community
Vancouver BC Access Court of Appeal Pro Bono volunteer
Guest lecturer UBC Law School on spousal support and Leskun Supreme Court of Canada decision
Featured Host of Family Matters Family Minute
Presents: Is there Freedom After 55, to Freedom 55 Financial
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada volunteer
Legal Advocacy Program (VLAP) volunteer
Lorne MacLean is honoured to be a former member of the Judicial Council of BC

"Lorne is a top notch Family Law lawyer in Vancouver. Passionate, professional, experienced, and extremely skilled at what he does, his counsel and expertise have proven to be so valuable to our family. Having a lawyer of such high caliber helping us navigate through custody issues has allowed me and my children to breathe a little easier. Lorne knows the law and works at high efficiency. My family is very grateful for all of the hard work and personal attention he and his amazing team have done."

Justin W