Tag Archive for: forum non conveniens

Cross-Border Litigation and Comity of Courts: A Landmark Judgment from the Delhi High Court

Written by Tarasha Gupta, student, Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat (India) and Saloni Khanderia, Professor, Jindal Global Law School


In its recent judgment in Shiju Jacob Varghese v. Tower Vision Limited,[1] the Delhi High Court (“HC”) held that an appeal before an Indian civil court was infructuous due to a consent order passed by the Tel Aviv District Court in a matter arising out of the same cause of action. The Court deemed the suit before Indian courts an attempt to re-litigate the same cause of action, thus an abuse of process violative of the principle of comity of courts.

In doing so, the Court appears to have clarified confusions arising in light of the explanation to Section 10 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (“CPC”), on one side, and parties’ right to choice of court agreements and forum non conveniens on the other. The result is that, as per the Delhi HC, Indian courts now ought to stay proceedings before them if the same cause of action has already been litigated before foreign courts.

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Revised Canadian Statute on Jurisdiction

Written by Stephen G.A. Pitel, Western University

Many Canadian and some other conflicts scholars will know that the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (ULCC) has drafted (in 1994) model legislation putting the taking of jurisdiction and staying of proceedings on a statutory footing. This statute, known as the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act (CJPTA), has subsequently been adopted and brought into force in 4 of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Yukon).

The ULCC has now released a revised version of the CJPTA. It is available here and background information is available here.

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Staying Proceedings under the Civil Code of Quebec

Written by Professor Stephen G.A. Pitel, Western University

The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R.S. v P.R., 2019 SCC 49 (available here) could be of interest to those who work with codified provisions on staying proceedings. It involves interpreting the language of several such provisions in the Civil Code of Quebec. Art. 3135 is the general provision for a stay of proceedings, but on its wording and as interpreted by the courts it is “exceptional” and so the hurdle for a stay is high. In contrast, Art. 3137 is a specific provision for a stay of proceedings based on lis pendens (proceedings underway elsewhere) and if it applies it does not have the same exceptional nature. This decision concerns Art. 3137 and how it should be interpreted. Read more

Double Counting the Place of the Tort?

In common law Canada there is a clear separation between the question of a court having jurisdiction (jurisdiction simpliciter) and the question of a court choosing whether to exercise or stay its jurisdiction.  One issue discussed in the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Haaretz.com v Goldhar (available here) is the extent of that separation.  Does this separation mean that a particular fact cannot be used in both the analysis of jurisdiction and of forum non conveniens?  On its face that seems wrong.  A fact could play a role in two separate analyses, being relevant to each in different ways.

Justice Cote, with whom Justices Brown and Rowe agreed, held that “applicable law, as determined by the lex loci delicti principle, should be accorded little weight in the forum non conveniens analysis in cases where jurisdiction is established on the basis of the situs of the tort” (para 90).  She indicated that this conclusion was mandated by the separation of jurisdiction and staying proceedings, which extends to each being “based on different factors”.  So if the place of the tort has been used as the basis for assuming jurisdiction, the same factor (the place of the tort) should not play a role in analyzing the most appropriate forum when considering a stay.  And since the applicable law is one of the factors considered in that analysis, if the applicable law is to be identified based on the connecting factor of the place of the tort, which is the rule in common law Canada, then the applicable law as a factor “should be accorded little weight”.

In separate concurring reasons, Justice Karakatsanis agreed that the applicable law “holds little weight here, where jurisdiction and applicable law are both established on the basis of where the tort was committed” (para 100).  In contrast, the three dissenting judges rejected this reason for reducing the weight of the applicable law (para 208).  The two other judges did not address this issue, so the tally was 4-3 for Justice Cote’s view.

As Vaughan Black has pointed out in discussions about the decision, the majority approach, taken to its logical conclusion, would mean that if jurisdiction is based on the defendant’s residence in the forum then the defendant’s residence is not a relevant factor in assessing which forum is more appropriate.  That contradicts a great many decisions on forum non conveniens.  Indeed, the court did not offer any supporting authorities in which the “double counting” of a fact was said to be inappropriate.

The majority approach has taken analytical separation too far.  There is no good reason for excluding or under-weighing a fact relevant to the forum non conveniens analysis simply because that same fact was relevant at the jurisdiction stage.  Admittedly the court in Club Resorts narrowed the range of facts that are relevant to jurisdiction in part to reduce overlap between the two questions.  But that narrowing was of jurisdiction.  Forum non conveniens remains a broad doctrine that should be based on a wide, open-end range of factors.  The applicable law, however identified, has to be one of them.

The Most Appropriate Forum: Assessing the Applicable Law

Another issue in the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Haaretz.com v Goldhar (available here) involves the applicable law as a factor in the forum non conveniens analysis.  It is clear that one of the factors in determining the most appropriate forum is the applicable law.  This is because it is quite easy for the forum to apply its own law and rather more difficult for it to apply the law of another jurisdiction.

So if the defendant can show that the forum would apply not its own law but rather the law of another jurisdiction, that points to a stay of proceedings in favour of that other jurisdiction.  In contrast, if the plaintiff can show that the forum would apply its own law, that points against a stay of proceedings.  In Haaretz.com the plaintiff was able to show that the Ontario court would apply Ontario law, not Israeli law.  So the applicable law factor favoured Ontario.

Not so, argued the defendant, because an Israeli court would apply Israeli law (see para 88).  So as between the two jurisdictions neither was any more convenient than the other!

In the Supreme Court of Canada, four of the judges rejected the defendant’s rejoinder.  The dissenting judges held that “[i]t is entirely appropriate, in our view, for courts to only look at the chosen forum in determining the applicable law.  Requiring courts to assess the choice of law rules of a foreign jurisdiction may require extensive evidence, needlessly complicating the pre-trial motion stage of the proceedings” (para 207).  In separate concurring reasons, Justice Karakatsanis agreed with the dissent on this point (para 100).  So because Ontario would apply Ontario law, this factor favours proceedings in Ontario rather than proceedings in Israel.

In contrast, Justice Cote, with whom Justices Brown and Rowe agreed, stated that “I am concerned that disregarding the applicable law in the alternative forum is inconsistent with the comparative nature of the forum non conveniens analysis” (para 89).  She cited in support an article by Brandon Kain, Elder C. Marques and Byron Shaw (2012).  The other two judges did not comment on this issue, so the court split 4-3 against looking at the applicable law in the alternative forum.

There is force to the practical concern raised by the dissent, and even with the assistance of the parties in many cases the court will be unable to form a sufficiently strong view as to what law the foreign forum would apply.  But conceptually it does seem that if it is established that the foreign forum will apply its own law, that should go to negate the benefits of the plaintiff’s chosen forum applying its own law.  Neither is any more convenient where compared against the other.

Perhaps because of the novelty of the approach, Justice Cote’s application of it may have missed the mark.  She held that “[a]s each forum would apply its own law, the applicable law factor cannot aid Haaretz in showing that it would be fairer and more efficient to proceed in the alternative forum” (para 88).  But the true point flowing from establishing that Israel would apply Israeli law, it would seem, should be that the applicable law factor cannot aid Goldhar (the plaintiff) in showing that it would be fairer and more efficient to proceed in Ontario.  If it cannot aid Haaretz.com that Israel would apply its own law, then how is the factor relevant and why is the court indicating a willingness to consider it?  It surely could not aid Haaretz.com that Israel would apply some other law.

On a motion for a stay, if the court did know what law would be applied in both the chosen forum and the alternative forum, we would have four possible situations.  On Justice Cote’s approach, if both forums would apply their own law, this is a neutral factor.  Similarly, if both forums would apply law other than forum law, this is also a neutral factor.  In the other two situations, the applicable law factor favours the forum that would be applying its own law.  With the court splitting 4-3 against looking at the applicable law in the alternative forum, this is not the approach – but should it be?

The Role of Foreign Enforcement Proceedings in Forum Non Conveniens

The doctrine of forum non conveniens, in looking to identify the most appropriate forum for the litigation, considers many factors.  Two of these are (i) a desire to avoid, if possible, a multiplicity of proceedings and (ii) any potential difficulties in enforcing the decision that results from the litigation.  However, it is important to keep these factors analytically separate.

In the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Haaretz.com v Goldhar (available here) Justice Abella noted that “enforcement concerns would favour a trial in Israel, in large part because Haaretz’s lack of assets in Ontario would mean that any order made against it would have to be enforced by Israeli courts, thereby raising concerns about a multiplicity of proceedings” (para 142).  Similarly, Justice Cote concluded (paras 82-83) that the fact that an Ontario order would have to be enforced in Israel was a factor that “slightly” favoured trial in Israel.

Justice Abella has arguably conflated the two factors rather than keeping them separate.  The concerns raised by a multiplicity of proceedings tend to focus on substantive proceedings rather than on subsequent procedural steps to enforce a judgment.  Courts rightly try to avoid substantive proceedings in more than one jurisdiction that arise from the same factual matrix, with one of the core concerns being the potential for inconsistent findings of fact.  Of course, enforcement proceedings do involve an additional step that is avoided if the judgment can simply be enforced locally.  But that, in itself, should not be grouped with the kinds of concerns raised by multiple substantive proceedings.  It will be unfortunate if subsequent courts routinely consider contemplated foreign enforcement proceedings as raising a multiplicity of proceedings concern.

Justice Cote (with whom Justices Brown and Rowe agreed) did not conflate enforcement proceedings and the concern about multiplicity.  However, it should be noted that Club Resorts, which she referenced on this point, stated (para 110 that “problems related to the recognition and enforcement of judgments” is a relevant factor for forum non conveniens.  The stress there should be on “problems”.  If it can be anticipated that there may be problems enforcing the judgment where the assets are, that is an important consideration.  But if no such problems are anticipated, the mere fact that enforcement elsewhere is contemplated should not point even “slightly” against the forum as the place for the litigation.  In Haaretz.com the judges who consider the enforcement factor did not identify any reason to believe that enforcement proceedings in Israel would be other than routine.

The dissenting judges (Chief Justice McLachlin and Justices Moldaver and Gascon) properly separated these two factors in their analysis (paras 234-237).  They did not treat enforcement proceedings as part of the analysis of a multiplicity of proceedings.  On enforcement, their view was that in defamation proceedings it is often sufficient just to obtain the judgment, in vindication of the plaintiff’s reputation, and that enforcement can thus be unnecessary or “irrelevant” (para 236).  Justice Cote strongly disagreed (para 83).  Leaving that dispute to one side, the dissent could have also made the point that this was not a case where any “problems” had been raised about enforcement in Israel.

Staying Proceedings, Undertakings and “Buying” a Forum

One of the points of interest in the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Haaretz.com v Goldhar (available here) concerns the appropriateness of the plaintiff’s undertaking to pay the travel and accommodation costs of the defendant’s witnesses, located in Israel, to come to the trial in Ontario.  The defendant had raised the issue of the residence of its witnesses as a factor pointing to Israel being the more appropriate forum.  The plaintiff, one presumes, made a strategic decision to counter this factor by giving the undertaking.

The motions judge and the Court of Appeal for Ontario both considered the undertaking as effective in reducing the difficulties for the defendant in having the litigation in Ontario.  However, the undertaking was viewed quite differently by at least some of the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada.  Justice Cote, joined by Justices Brown and Rowe, stated that “consideration of such an undertaking would allow a wealthy plaintiff to sway the forum non conveniens analysis, which would be inimical to the foundational principles of fairness and efficiency underlying this doctrine” (para 66).  Justice Abella, in separate reasons, stated “I think it would be tantamount to permitting parties with greater resources to tip the scales in their favour by ‘buying’ a forum. … it is their actual circumstances, and not artificially created ones, that should be weighed” (para 140).  The other five judges (two concurring in the result reached by these four; three dissenting) did not comment on the undertaking.

Undertakings by one party in response to concerns raised by the other party on motions to stay are reasonably common.  Many of these do involve some financial commitment.  For example, in response to the concern that various documents will have to be translated into the language of the court, a party could undertake to cover the translation costs.  Similarly, a party might undertake to cover the costs of the other party flowing from more extensive pre-trial discovery procedures in the forum.  Travel and accommodation expenses are perhaps the most common subject for a financial undertaking.  Is the Supreme Court of Canada now holding that these sorts of undertakings are improper?

The more general statement from Justice Abella rejecting artificially created circumstances could have an even broader scope, addressing more than just financial issues.  Is it a criticism of even non-financial undertakings, such as an undertaking by the defendant not to raise a limitation period – otherwise available as a defence – in the foreign forum if the stay is granted?  Is that an artificially-created circumstance?

Vaughan Black has written the leading analysis of conditional stays of proceedings in Canadian law: “Conditional Forum Non Conveniens in Canadian Courts” (2013) 39 Queen’s Law Journal 41.  Undertakings are closely related to conditions.  The latter are imposed by the court as a condition of its order, while the former are offered in order to influence the decision on the motion.  But both deal with very similar content, and undertakings are sometimes incorporated into the order as conditions.  Black observes that in some cases courts have imposed financial conditions such as paying transportation costs and even living costs during litigation (pages 69-70).  Are these conditions now inappropriate, if undertakings about those expenses are?  Or it is different if imposed by the court?

My view is that the four judges who made these comments in Haaretz.com have put the point too strongly.  Forum non conveniens is about balancing the interests of the parties.  If one party points to a particular financial hardship imposed by proceeding in a forum, it should be generally open for the other party to ameliorate this hardship by means of a financial undertaking.  Only in the most extreme cases should a court consider the undertaking inappropriate.  And perhaps, though the judges do not say so expressly, Haaretz.com is such a case, in that there were potentially 22 witness who would need to travel from Israel to Ontario for a trial.


Supreme Court of Canada: Israel, not Ontario, is Forum Conveniens for Libel Proceedings

The decision to stay proceedings under the doctrine of forum non conveniens is discretionary, which in part means that appeal courts should be reluctant to reverse the decisions of motions judges on the issue.  It comes as some surprise, therefore, that the Supreme Court of Canada has disagreed with not only the motions judge but also the Court of Appeal for Ontario and overturned two earlier decisions denying a stay.  In Haaretz.com v Goldhar (available here) the court held (in a 6-3 decision) that the plaintiff’s libel proceedings in Ontario should be stayed because Israel is the clearly more appropriate forum.

The decision is complex, in part because the appeal also considered the issue of jurisdiction and in part because the nine judges ended up writing five sets of reasons, four concurring in the result and a fifth in dissent.  That is very unusual for Canada’s highest court.

The case concerned defamation over the internet.  The plaintiff, a resident of Ontario, alleged that an Israeli newspaper defamed him.  Most readers of the story were in Israel but there were over 200 readers in Ontario.

On assumed jurisdiction, the court was asked by the defendant to reconsider its approach as set out in Club Resorts (available here), at least as concerned cases of internet defamation.  Eight of the nine judges refused to do so.  They confirmed that a tort committed in Ontario was a presumptive connecting factor to Ontario, such that it had jurisdiction unless that presumption was rebutted (and they held it was not).  They also confirmed the orthodoxy that the tort of defamation is committed where the statement is read by a third party, and that in internet cases this is the place where the third party downloads and reads the statement (paras 36-38 and 166-167).  Only one judge, Justice Abella, mused that the test for jurisdiction should not focus on that place but instead on “where the plaintiff suffered the most substantial harm to his or her reputation” (para 129).  This borrows heavily (see para 120) from an approach to choice of law (rather than jurisdiction) that uses not the place of the tort (lex loci delicti) but rather the place of most substantial harm to reputation to identify the applicable law.

On the stay of proceedings, six judges concluded that Israel was the most appropriate forum.  Justice Cote wrote reasons with which Justices Brown and Rowe concurred.  Justice Karakatsanis disagreed with two key points made by Justice Cote but agreed with the result.  Justices Abella and Wagner also agreed with the result but, unlike the other seven judges (see paras 91 and 198), they adopted a new choice of law rule for internet defamation.  This was a live issue on the stay motion because the applicable law is a relevant factor in determining the most appropriate forum.  They rejected the lex loci delicti rule from Tolofson (available here) and instead used as the connecting factor the place of the most substantial harm to reputation (paras 109 and 144).  Justice Wagner wrote separately because he rejected (paras 147-148) Justice Abella’s further suggestion (explained above) that the law of jurisdiction should also be changed along similar lines.

The core disagreement between Justice Cote (for the majority) and the dissent (written jointly by Chief Justice McLachlin and Justices Moldaver and Gascon) was that Justice Cote concluded that the motions judge made six errors of law (para 50) in applying the test for forum non conveniens, so that no deference was required and the court could substitute its own view.  In contrast, the dissent held that four of these errors were “merely points where our colleague would have weighed the evidence differently had she been the motions judge” (para 179) which is inappropriate for an appellate court and that the other two errors were quite minor and had no impact on the overall result (para 178).  The dissent held strongly to the orthodox idea that decisions on motions to stay are entitled to “considerable deference” (para 177) lest preliminary motions and appeals over where litigation should occur undermine stability and increase costs (para 180).

Another fundamental disagreement between Justice Cote and the dissent was their respective view of the scope of the plaintiff’s claim.  During the motion and appeals, the plaintiff made it clear that he was only seeking a remedy in respect of damage to his reputation in Ontario (as opposed to anywhere else) and that he was not going to sue elsewhere.  The dissent accepted that this undertaking to the court limited the scope of the claim (paras 162-163) and ultimately it pointed to Ontario as the most appropriate forum.  In contrast, Justice Cote held that the plaintiff’s undertaking “should not be allowed to narrow the scope of his pleadings” (para 23).  It is very hard to accept that this is correct, and indeed on this point Justice Karakatsanis broke with Justice Cote (para 101) and agreed with the dissent.  Why should the court not accept such an undertaking as akin to an amendment of the pleadings?  Justice Cote claimed that “[n]either Goldhar nor my colleagues … may now redefine Goldhar’s action so that it better responds to Haaretz’s motion to stay” (para 24).  But why should the plaintiff not be able to alter the scope of his claim in the face of objections to that scope from the defendant?

There are many other points of clash in the reasons, too many to engage with fully here.  How important, at a preliminary stage, is examination of what particular witnesses who have to travel might say?  What role does the applicable law play in the weighing of the more appropriate forum when it appears that each forum might apply its own law?  Does a subsequent proceeding to enforce a foreign judgment count toward a multiplicity of proceedings (which is to be avoided) or do only substantive proceedings (on the merits) count?  Is it acceptable for a court to rely on an undertaking from the plaintiff to pay the travel and accommodation costs for the defendant’s witnesses or is this allowing a plaintiff to “buy” a forum?

It might be tempting to treat the decision as very much a product of its specific facts, so that it does not offer much for future cases.  There could, however, be cause for concern.  As a theme, the majority lauded “a robust and careful” assessment of forum non conveniens motions (para 3).  If this robust and careful assessment is to be performed by appellate courts, is this consistent with deference to motions judges in their discretionary, fact-specific analysis?  The dissent did not think so (para 177).

Law on Jurisdiction Clauses Changes in Canada

In 2011 Facebook, Inc. used the name and picture of certain Facebook.com members as part of an advertising product.  In response, a class action was started in British Columbia on behalf of roughly 1.8 million British Columbia residents whose name and picture had been used.  The claim was based on section 3(2) of the province’s Privacy Act.  In response, Facebook, Inc. sought a stay of proceedings based on an exclusive jurisdiction clause in favour of California contained in the contracts of use for all Facebook.com members.

Canadian courts had repeatedly held that “strong cause” must be shown to displace an exclusive jurisdiction clause.  In addition, while there was some ambiguity, the leading view had become that the analysis about whether to stay proceedings due to such a clause is separate and distinct from the general forum non conveniens analysis (para 18).  The clause is not simply an important part of the forum non conveniens analysis – rather, it triggers a separate analysis.

In Douez v Facebook, Inc., 2017 SCC 33 (available here) the Supreme Court of Canada confirms the second of these points: the analysis is indeed separate.  However, by a slim majority of 4-3 the court holds that the “strong cause” test operates differently in a consumer context than in the commercial context in which it was originally formulated.  The court overturns the decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal and rejects a stay of proceedings, paving the way for the class action to proceed in British Columbia.

The Separate Analysis

All of the judges support the separation from forum non conveniens (paras 17, 20 and 131).  I have found this approach troubling as it has developed and so, while not a surprise, I am disappointed to see it confirmed by the court.  As I understand it, the core reason for the separate analysis is to make sure that the clause is not overcome by a series of less important factors aggregated under the forum non conveniens analysis.  So the separate analysis requires that the “strong cause” to overcome the clause has to involve something closely related or intrinsic to the clause itself.  The best explanation of this view is in Expedition Helicopters Inc. v Honeywell Inc., 2010 ONCA 351 (available here; see in particular para 24).  The problem is that courts, in their search for strong cause, frequently go beyond this and refer to factors that are well established under the forum non conveniens approach.

In its analysis, the court puts almost no emphasis on (and does not really even explain, in the way Expedition Helicopters does) how the separate approach differs from forum non conveniens in terms of how the clause gets displaced.  In places, it appears to actually be discussing forum non conveniens (see paras 29-30 and 155), in part perhaps due to its quite direct reliance on The Eleftheria, an English decision I think is more consistent with a unitary framework rather than a separate approach (a point noted in Expedition Helicopters at para 11).  In Douez, the plurality finds strong cause for two reasons: public policy and secondary factors (para 64).  Leaving public policy aside for the moment, it is telling that the secondary factors are “the interests of justice” and “comparative convenience and expense”.  These are the most conventional of forum non conveniens factors.  If this analysis is followed by lower courts, rather than that as explained in Expedition Helicopters, the separate analysis might end up not being very separate.

The Consumer Context

The majority (which is comprised of two decisions: a plurality by three judges and a separate solo concurrence) considers the unequal bargaining power and potential for the relinquishing of rights in the consumer context to warrant a different approach to the “strong cause” test (para 33).  In part, public policy must be considered to determine whether the clause is to be given effect.  As a matter of law, this may well be acceptable.  But one of the key features of the plurality decision is the basis on which it concludes that strong cause has been shown on the facts.  It reaches this conclusion because the contract is one of adhesion with notable inequality of bargaining power and because the claim being brought relates to “quasi-constitutional rights” (para 58), namely privacy.  If these factors are sufficient, then a great many exclusive jurisdiction clauses in standard form contracts with consumers are subject to being defeated on a similar basis.  Lots of consumer contracts involve unequal bargaining strength and are in essence “take it or leave it” contracts.  And it may well not be that difficult for claims to be advanced, alongside other claims, that involve some form of quasi-constitutional rights (the breadth of this is untested).  This possibility that many other clauses do not provide the protection once thought is likely the most notable dimension of the decision.

The Dissent

The dissent would not modify the “strong cause” test (paras 125 and 171).  It stresses the need for certainty and predictability, which are furthered by exclusive jurisdiction clauses (paras 124 and 159).  The dissent concludes the clause became part of the contract, is clear and is not unconscionable.  It reviews possible factors which could amount to strong cause and finds none of them present.  It is critical of the majority for its use of public policy as a factor in the strong cause analysis.  If the clause is enforceable – and in its view it is, even with the inequality of bargaining power – then it is wrong to rely on the factors used by the plurality to find strong cause (para 173).  In the immediate aftermath of the decision I think the dissent has the better of the argument on whether strong cause has been shown in this particular case.

Territorial versus Subject Matter Jurisdiction

The proposed class action relies on a statutory provision.  That statute contains a provision (section 4) that provides that the British Columbia Supreme Court must hear and determine claims under the statute.  The British Columbia Court of Appeal concluded that this provision addresses subject matter jurisdiction and not territorial jurisdiction (para 14).  The dissent agrees with that view (para 142).  In contrast, the plurality conflates the two types of jurisdiction.  While it accepts that the provision is not one which overrides jurisdiction clauses (para 41), in the public policy analysis it is concerned that in litigation in California the plaintiff class would have no claim (para 59).  But as the dissent points out, it is open to the California courts to apply the statute under its choice of law analysis (paras 165-66).  No evidence was adduced to the contrary.  Section 4, properly interpreted, does not prevent that.  Even more worrying is the analysis of Justice Abella in her solo concurring decision.  She concludes that section 4 deals with territorial jurisdiction and so overrides any jurisdiction clause to the contrary (paras 107-08).  This is a remarkable interpretation of section 4, one which would see many other provisions about subject matter jurisdiction instead read as though they addressed territorial jurisdiction (which she does in footnote 1 in para 109).


The split between the judges as to what amounts to strong cause sufficient to set aside an exclusive jurisdiction clause is the most dramatic aspect of the decision.  They see what is at stake very differently.  On one view, this is a case in which consumers should not be deprived of important statutory rights by a clause to which they did not truly agree.  On another view, this is a case in which contracting parties should be held to their agreement as to the forum in which any disputes which arise should be resolved because, even though the contract involves consumers, the agreement is not unfair and has not been shown to deprive them of any substantive rights.  This debate will now play out across a wide range of consumer contracts.

Conflicts Conference in Toronto

The following information is provided by the conference organizers.  Given how rare conflict of laws conferences are in Canada, I am delighted to pass this along.

The CJPTA: A Decade of Progress

In 2016, the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act marks its tenth year in force.  Adopted in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, the CJPTA has clarified and advanced the law of judicial jurisdiction. This symposium will assess the progress made by the CJPTA across the range of issues addressed and critically evaluate the capacity of the CJPTA: to provide leadership for the law in other parts of Canada; to enable further development in the law; and to meet the needs of Canadians in the years ahead in a world of increasing cross-border dealings.


Friday, October 21, 2016 (expected to run from 9am to 4:30pm)

University Club of Toronto (380 University Avenue, just north of the American consulate)

Co-chaired by Professor Janet Walker (Osgoode) and Lisa Munro (Lerners LLP) with the assistance of Dr. Sagi Peari and Gerard Kennedy

We are excited to bring you a fantastic lineup of speakers and panelists discussing a wide range of topics pertaining to CJPTA and judicial jurisdiction.

Space is limited. Kindly RSVP to

Sagi Peari (SPeari@osgoode.yorku.ca)
Gerard Kennedy (GerardKennedy@osgoode.yorku.ca)

by October 3, 2016.