Which English acts are applicable in BC?
Last revised April 23, 2019

The Law & Equity Act, R.S.B.C. 1996 chapter 253, sections 1 to 3, currently states that with the exception of section 28 of the Offences Against the Person Act, 1828 and all sections of the Real Property Act, 1845, the Civil and Criminal Laws of England as they existed on November 19, 1858 and insofar as they are not from local circumstances inapplicable, are in force in British Columbia, subject to change by BC law.

A proclamation declaring English law in force in the colony of British Columbia, was issued on November 19, 1858.  See Proclamations & Ordinances [Microform].

The proclamation was subsequently repealed by the English Law Ordinance, 1867, later revised as the English Law Act.

The following is a list of statute volumes containing versions of the English Law Act from 1871 to 1960.  The Act was not consolidated in the Revised Statutes of British Columbia 1979, but not repealed.  The statute volumes mentioned below are available in resource and regional Courthouse libraries:

  • Laws of British Columbia. Revised 1871, No. 70 (English Law Ordinance, 1867)
  • Statutes of British Columbia. Consolidated Acts 1888, chapter 69
  • Revised Statutes of British Columbia 1897, chapter 115
  • Revised Statutes of British Columbia 1911, chapter 75
  • Revised Statutes of British Columbia 1936, chapter 80
  • Revised Statutes of British Columbia 1948, chapter 111
  • Revised Statutes of British Columbia 1960, chapter 129

Part I of the Revised Statutes of British Columbia 1911, vol. IV contains a collection of English statutes not consolidated with the revision.  As per the publication note on page 5, "This compilation does not purport to be an exhaustive collection of English Acts that may be applicable in the Province of British Columbia.  The insertion of any Act or part of any Act in this compilation, or the omission therefrom of Acts or parts of Acts, must not be taken as an expression of opinion on the part of the Commissioners with respect to the applicability of those inserted, or the inapplicability of the great number of Acts omitted.  The judicial tribunals of the country can alone determine these questions."

There is a table of English statutes in force in Canada in J.E. Cote's article, "The Introduction of English Law Into Alberta", in 3 Alberta Law Review 262 (table starts at page 279) and for a discussion of the inapplicability of certain English statutes in BC, see McKenzie v. McKenzie, (1970) 73 W.W.R. 206 (BCCA)


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