Robert C. Doell

Work History and Education

Robert 'Bob' Doell graduated from the University of British Columbia's Law School in 1968 and he began his legal career articling with the firm Hallett, Stewart and Gow in Victoria, BC. Bob was called to the Bar of British Columbia in September 1969.

After articling, Bob Doell and Marney Stevenson became partners and they opened the doors to Stevenson Doell in Victoria. Stevenson Doell is still a busy family law firm, and Bob is a very well respected family law lawyer.

Some of BC’s leading lawyers have worked with Bob Doell, including, now retired, Jane Henderson QC, Deborah Acheson QC, and former Madam Justice Dorgan of the Supreme Court of BC.

Brent Kitzke and Bob have been partners now for almost 30 years with several associate lawyers and articled students; forming one of the most noted family law firms in Victoria.

Bob was counsel in the case of Rutherford v. Rutherford, (1981) 30 B.C.L.R. 145 (C.A), a case that has been cited at least 204 times, including by the Supreme Court of Canada in Clarke v Clarke [1990] 2 SCR 795 (itself a case cited 224 times) and Stein v Stein [2008] 2 SCR 263 (cited 119 times). The most recent use of the case being made by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal in D.B.B. v D.M.B. 2017 SKCA 59 (CanLII). Bob represented Mrs. Rutherford at trial and the Court of Appeal of British Columbia.

Bob was successful at the Supreme Court of Canada in Harper v Harper [1980] 1 SCR 2, a case cited 71 times, most recently by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal in Rodgers v Thompson 2018 SKCA 33 (CanLII).

A search of the major online legal resource, Westlaw Canada, reveals that Bob has 244 reported cases or decisions available dating back to Sherlock v Sherlock 1970 Carswell BC 15, 13 D.L.R. (3d) 255. To that number must be added the countless oral reasons for judgement made in Bob’s cases.

In 1990, Bob was a contributing author on property division in the CLE Family Law restatement of family law for British Columbia, and he was a CLE panelist on family law courses.

Bob was a Director of the Victoria Boy Scouts in the 1970’s.

Bob was a director of the Victoria Bar Association in the 1970’s and he organized numerous Bar functions.

From 1993 to 1995, Bob was on the Board of Directors of the Victoria Golf Club and Chairman of the Finance Committee for two years.

In 1996 and 1997, Bob was the President of the Victoria Golf Club.

Bob was President of the Victoria Golf Club again from 2005 to 2008 – making him the longest serving President of this historic golf club that is celebrating its 125th anniversary in July 2018.


Bob Doell has been an exceptional lawyer for almost 50 years.

Inside and outside the courtroom, Bob has made lasting contributions to the field of family law, most significantly, to the area of pension division on marital breakdown.

On September 21, 1995, the Honourable J.J. Gow QC, a former Supreme Court Justice, and long-time Bencher wrote to the then Law Society Treasurer, and recommended that Bob Doell be appointed Queens Counsel. The letter can be provided and part of it says (emphasis added):

‘Mr. Doell has been in practice in and from Victoria for nigh on 25 years, in course of which he has justly earned the reputation of being a leading counsel, an exceptionally gifted practitioner, a fearless advocate and, in the all important field of family law, without peer. But the most eloquent witnesses of his outstanding qualities as a member of the profession and of the Law Society are the countless reported decisions, including those of the Supreme Court of Canada, demonstrating how valiantly and successfully he advocated his client’s cause’.

Bob Doell has made significant contributions to the law, especially family law.

Bob contributed to the drafting of the Family Relations Act in the 1970’s.

In 1990, Bob was a contributing author on property division in the CLE Family Law restatement of family law.

In September 1992, Bob presented on the Rutherford decision, at a meeting of the Vancouver Family Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association.

In July 1995, Bob was a presenter at the very first CLE Family Law Conference. Bob has provided CLE with family law information and advice on pension division over the years.

The Rutherford formula attracted academic comment from leading experts including the late Professor James McLeod, universally respected for his work on family law. The Rutherford formula also affected family law issues such as spousal support and the concept of ‘double dipping’. For example, Mr. Justice Metzger refers to the Rutherford formula in Trewern v. Trewern, 2009 BCSC 236 (CanLII), at paragraph 19.

Bob has been a reliable resource for all those who have worked with him, who include: Ron Smith, Brent Kitzke, Mavis Ray, Bob Bircher, Dennis Stoffer, Darrel Woods, Tyler Luchies, Liz Hannah, Jane Henderson, and Deborah Acheson.

Bob recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of his UBC Law class, at a dinner with other graduates, including, Paul Bundon, Bob Heath, Robert Lemeski, Mohan Jawl, and Ken Stevenson.