Genge v. Dredge

In Contracts, Fish Cases on (Updated )

This case involved a dispute over the breach of an oral agreement to lease a shrimp fishing licence by way of failing to make the agreed upon lease payments. In granting judgement to the original licence holder, the court made a number of findings and orders including the following:

A fishing licence is an asset that is capable of being leased (para. 57);
Since the shrimp licence had become married to another licence, the court did not order specific performance of a term of the agreement requiring the licence to be transferred back to the original holder as the original holder would be unjustly enriched by receiving the licence that had become married the shrimp licence;
Since an injunction would prevent the licence from being utilized by either party, the court did not order in injunction;
The decision of the SCC in Saulnier v. Saulnier, 2008 SCC 58 "does not overrule and tends to support previous decisions . . . in which a s. 7(1) Licence has been considered property capable of being subject of a constructive trust;
A constructive trust was imposed by the court by way of order requiring the holder to the licence to hold the licence in trust for the original holder, prohibit the holder from transferring the licence to any other person other than the original holder or his estate and to transfer the licence to the original holder or his estate when and if DFO permits the licence to be transferred without being married to the other licence; and
A copy of the court’s order is to be forwarded to the Area Licencing Administrator of DFO so that the constructive trust "may be endorsed or noted on DFO’s records" (para 125).
Editor’s note: Carwsell provided the neutral citation 2008 NLTD 292, however this citation does not appear to work on CANLII or on the Newfoundland and Labrador court website?

For other cases involving constructive trusts on fishing licences see also The “Wa Yas” [1993] F.C.J. 909 (F.C.A.) affirming [1993]1 F.C. 36. and my article in the Fisheries Papers section of this web page entitled, “Licence Trusts”.