Rick v Brandsema [2009]

Case summary

Rick v Brandsema is a BC family law case in which the parties entered a separation agreement that left Mr. Brandsema with substantially more assets than Ms. Rick after 27 years of marriage. Ms. Rick suffered mental health challenges when the agreement was signed and identified herself as a survivor of domestic violence.

West Coast LEAF’s involvement

LEAF and West Coast LEAF presented oral arguments in Rick v Brandsema at the Supreme Court of Canada on October 14, 2008.


The trial judge determined that Mr. Brandsema failed to disclose, or properly value, family and jointly held business assets and awarded Ms. Rick funds to equalize the property division. The Court of Appeal overturned that result, but the Supreme Court of Canada accepted Ms. Rick’s appeal and restored the trial judge’s decision. The Supreme Court of Canada found that the parties’ separation agreement was unfair and invalid because Mr. Brandsema exploited Ms. Rick’s vulnerabilities and purposely misled her about the state of their financial affairs.

Case documents

Application for leave to intervene – Supreme Court of Canada

Factum – Supreme Court of Canada

Decision – Supreme Court of Canada