Crystal Harris: Can a runaway bride be tripped up by a lawsuit?

Crystal Harris is the latest runaway bride that has managed to steal the spotlight. Her decision not to wed Hugh Hefner has certainly had some difficult consequences for Hugh, one particularly embarrassing result is a magazine feature Crystal introducing her as "Mrs. Crystal Hefner." People often wonder; are there any legal consequences for people who call of the wedding?

So, we can ask ourselves what would have happened if Hugh and Crystal had been in Ontario. When looking at questions dealing with marriages in Ontario, the first place to check is the Marriage Act:

32. (1) No action shall be brought for a breach of a promise to marry or for any damages resulting therefrom. R.S.O. 1990, c. M.3, s. 32 (1).

In a way, most people who get married had previously made a promise to do so. This is what most people do when they get engaged; the couple agrees to get married at a future date. This law prevents one partner for suing the other if they do not get married. Their decision not to get married might have certain damages that result; Hugh for example would likely want to recall the magazine, or his reputation may have been damaged by the mix-up.

Under Ontario law, he would be unable to sue Crystal on the basis that she breached a contract when she called off the wedding. The courts in Ontario, ultimately, do not want to force people to get married when they have had second thoughts. So in the case of Hugh and Crystal; there would be no legal recourse under Ontario law for Hugh to try and sue his once girlfriend. However, if they both signed the contract for all of the suppliers such as caterer, musicians etc. then they both could be responsible for this expense.

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