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Conference: Cross Border Family Litigation in Europe. The Brussels IIbis Recast (Milan, 14 october 2016)

The University of Milan (Department of International, Legal, Historical and Political Studies) will host on Friday 14 October 2016 (14h00) a conference on “Cross border family litigation in Europe. The Brussels IIbis recast“.

Here is the programme (the sessions will be held in English and Italian):

Welcoming addresses

  • Chiara Tonelli (Vice-Rector for Research, Univ. of Milan)
  • Laura Ammannati (Director of the Department of International, Legal, Historical and Political Studies)

Chair: Stefania Bariatti (Univ. of Milan)

The Brussels IIbis recast

  • Joanna Serdynska (Civil Justice Policy, DG Justice, European Commission): The Commission’s proposal
  • Anatol Dutta (Universität Regensburg – MPI Hamburg): A comment on the Commission’s Proposal from a member of the Commission’s Expert Group

Round Table – The Commission’s Proposal: exchange of views among judges, practitioners and academics

  • Giuseppe Buffone (Milan Court, Family Division)
  • Monica Velletti (Rome Court, Family Division)

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.

Supreme Court of Canada Evolves Test for Taking Jurisdiction

The Supreme Court of Canada has released its decision in Lapointe Rosenstein Marchand Melancon LLP v Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, 2016 SCC 30 (available here).  The decision builds on the court’s foundational decision in Club Resorts Ltd v Van Breda, 2012 SCC 17, which altered the law on taking jurisdiction in cases not involving presence in the forum or submission to the forum.

In Club Resorts the court held that to take jurisdiction in service ex juris cases the plaintiff had to establish a presumptive connecting factor (PCF) and it identified four non-exhaustive PCFs for tort claims.  The fourth of these was that a contract connected with the dispute was made in the forum.  This was viewed as unusual: there was very little precedential support for considering such a connection sufficient to ground jurisdiction in tort cases.  Commentators expressed concern about the weakness of the connection, based as it was on the place of making a contract, and about the lack of a clear test for determining whether such a contract was sufficiently connected to the tort claim.  Both of these issues were squarely raised in Lapointe Rosenstein.

No Independent Jurisdiction Requirement for Proceeding to Enforce a Foreign Judgment in Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada has released its decision in Chevron Corp v Yaiguaje (available here).  The issue before the court was whether the Ontario courts have jurisdiction to recognize and enforce an Ecuadorian judgment (for over $US 18 billion) where the foreign judgment debtor Chevron Corporation (“Chevron”) claims to have no connection with the province, whether through assets or otherwise.  On one view, because the process for enforcing a foreign judgment is to commence a new domestic proceeding and thereby sue on the foreign judgment, the enforcement proceeding must have its own independent analysis of jurisdiction.  Put another way, there cannot be a proceeding in respect of which the court does not have to have jurisdiction.  On a different view, because the analysis of the claim on the foreign judgment considers, among other things, the sufficiency of the rendering court’s jurisdiction (Chevron defended on the merits in Ecuador), that is the only required analysis of jurisdiction and there is no need for a separate consideration of the enforcing court’s jurisdiction.  The Supreme Court of Canada, agreeing with the Court of Appeal for Ontario, has held that the latter view is correct.

In summarizing its conclusion (para 3) the court stated “In an action to recognize and enforce a foreign judgment where the foreign court validly assumed jurisdiction, there is no need to prove that a real and substantial connection exists between the enforcing forum and either the judgment debtor or the dispute.  It makes little sense to compel such a connection when, owing to the nature of the action itself, it will frequently be lacking. Nor is it necessary, in order for the action to proceed, that the foreign debtor contemporaneously possess assets in the enforcing forum.  Jurisdiction to recognize and enforce a foreign judgment within Ontario exists by virtue of the debtor being served on the basis of the outstanding debt resulting from the judgment.”

Interlocutory Injunction Upheld Against Non-Party (Google Inc.)

The British Columbia Court of Appeal has upheld an interlocutory injunction made against Google Inc., a non-party, in litigation between Equustek Solutions Inc. and Datalink Technologies Gateways Inc.  The decision is available here.

The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had counterfeited their product.  In an effort to prevent the defendants from selling the counterfeit product, which was being done over the internet, the plaintiffs sought and obtained an interlocutory injunction against Google Inc., a Delaware corporation based in California, ordering it to exclude a list of certain web sites from search results.  The aim was to stop customers from finding the defendants.  Google Inc. appealed the injunction on several grounds.

A Court’s Inherent Jurisdiction to Sit Outside its Home Territory

Another step in the evolution of the common law on this issue has been taken by the Court of Appeal for Ontario in Parsons v Ontario, 2015 ONCA 158 (available here).  The court disagrees in some respects with the earlier decision, on the same issue, of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Endean v British Columbia, 2014 BCCA 61 (available here) (discussed by me over a year ago here).  It may be that in light of this conflict the Supreme Court of Canada will end up hearing appeals of either or both decisions.

People infected with the Hepatitis C virus by the Canadian blood supply between 1986 and 1990 initiated class actions in each of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.  These actions were settled under an agreement which provided for ongoing administration of the compensation process by a designated judge in each of the three provinces.  In 2012 the issue arose as to whether the period for advancing a claim to compensation could be extended.  Rather than having three separate motions in each of the provinces before each judge to address that issue, counsel for the class proposed a single hearing before the three judges, to take place in Alberta where all of them would happen to be on other judicial business.  In the face of objections to that process, motions were brought in each province to determine whether such an approach was possible.  The initial decision in each province was that a court could sit outside its home province.  The Quebec decision was not appealed but the other two were.

Article on special jurisdiction in IP matters, including a comment on Coty

DavidoffThe previously reported CJEU decision in Coty Germany GmbH v. First Note Perfumes NV, concerning the infringement of the rights in the 3D Community trade mark, unlawful comparative advertising and unfair imitation, is the subject of a comment by Prof. Annette Kur, in her article Durchsetzung gemeinschaftsweiter Schutz-rechte: Internationale Zuständigkeit und an-wendbares Recht, fortcomming in GRUR Int., Issue 7/8, 2014.

Her criticism is primarily addressing the answer to the first question in which the CJEU reiterated that jurisdiction under Article 93(5) of CTM Regulation may be established solely in favour of CTM courts in the MS in which the defendant committed the alleged unlawful act. This is because she finds an interpretation of the provision contrary to the principle of territoriality of intellectual property rights, both national and unitary. She explains that the effect of this principle is absence of any possibility that there might be a single infringement of an intellectual property right with the event causing damage in one country, and the damage occurring in another. In such a situation there would be two distinct acts of infringement, one in each of the countries. Kur qualifies the CJEU reasoning as a fundamental misunderstanding of the structural features of the intellectual property law that distinguish it from other areas of tort law.

Not So Fast: Canadian Courts Cannot Sit Everywhere

In an earlier post I discussed three first-instance decisions of Canadian courts, one from each of Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, holding that the court could, at its discretion, sit outside the province.

Two of those decisions were appealed and one appeal has now been decided.  In Endean v British Columbia, 2014 BCCA 61 (available here) the Court of Appeal has reversed the lower court’s decision in British Columbia and called into question the other two lower court decisions.

The court held (at para 82) that “British Columbia judges cannot conduct hearings that take place outside the province. Such a major law reform is for the legislature to determine.”  The court did note that “There is, however, no objection to a judge who is not personally present in the province conducting a hearing that takes place in a British Columbia courtroom by telephone, video conference or other communication medium”.

Milan Conference on the Reform of the Brussels I Regime (13 December 2013)

The University “Luigi Bocconi” of Milan will host on Friday 13 December (9h30 – 13h00) a conference on the recast of the Brussels I reg., organized in collaboration with the International Law Association: “The Reform of the ‘Brussels I’ Regime – The Recast Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012”. A substantial part of the colloquium will be held in English. Here’s the programme (available as a .pdf file):

Welcome Address: Giorgio Sacerdoti (Università Bocconi)

Opening Remarks: Alberto Malatesta (Secretary, ILA-Italy)

Chair: Fausto Pocar (Università degli Studi di Milano)

  • The Revised Brussels I Regulation – A general outlook: The Rt. Hon. Lord Jonathan Mance (Judge, Supreme Court of the UK and Chair, Executive Council, ILA);

Private International Law in Commonwealth Africa

Published this week is Private International Law in Commonwealth Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2013) by Prof. Richard Oppong of Thompson Rivers University. 

From the book’s website:

The book won the 2013 American Society of International Law prize in Private International Law.  The prize ‘recognizes exceptional work in private international law’.  The Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, Dr. Christophe Bernasconi, observes in his foreword to the book that: ‘The publication of Private International Law in Commonwealth Africa marks a significant milestone in the history and development of private international law in Africa.  Its encyclopaedic analysis of fifteen national legal systems – which account for over 40 per cent of the continent’s population yet over 70 per cent of its economic output – will go a long way to filling a gap in knowledge in respect of this important region of the world’.