Tag Archive for: jurisdiction

Can a Court Sit Outside its Territorial Jurisdiction?

In Parsons v The Canadian Red Cross Society, 2013 ONSC 3053 (available here), Winkler CJ (of the Court of Appeal, here sitting down in the Superior Court of Justice) has held that a judge of the SCJ can sit as such outside Ontario.  No authority, it seems, requires the SCJ to sit only in Ontario.

The decision seems to me, at least on an initial reading, largely based on pragmatism.  It seems efficient to so allow and so the court does.  But I have some preliminary sense that there are some larger concerns here that are not being fully thought through.  The place where a court sits seems awfully fundamental to its existence and authority as a court.  In addition, the brushing aside of concerns about the open court principle (see paras 48-50) seems too minimal.

Part of the decision is based on Morguard and the federal nature of Canada (see para 25), so maybe the judge could not so sit outside Canada?

Ontario Court Refuses to Hear Chevron/Ecuador Enforcement Action

As many of you know, in 2011 several residents of Ecuador won a judgment in the courts of that country against Chevron Corporation for some $18 billion.  In 2012 the successful plaintiffs sued Chevron Corporation and Chevron Canada Ltd. in Ontario, seeking to have the Ecuadorian judgment enforced there.  The defendants brought a motion challenging the Ontario court’s jurisdiction to hear the action.  The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has now released its decision, siding with the defendants.  The decision has not yet been posted on CanLII but is available here.  The plaintiffs’ lawyer has publicly indicated that his clients will appeal.

Key aspects of the decision have been summarized by Roger Alford on the Opinio Juris website (here).

 

Articles on the SCC’s Van Breda v Club Resorts

Things have been pretty quiet on the conflict of laws front in Canada over the past several months.  But lower courts and academics have been working to understand the new framework for taking jurisdiction set out in April 2012 by the Supreme Court of Canada in Van Breda v Club Resorts (available here).

Several useful articles have now been written about this decision:

Tanya Monestier, “(Still) a ‘Real and Substantial’ Mess: The Law of Jurisdiction in Canada” (2013) 36 Fordham International Law Journal 396

Vaughan Black, “Simplifying Court Jurisdiction in Canada” (2012) 8 Journal of Private International Law 411

Joost Blom, “New Ground Rules for Jurisdictional Disputes: The Van Breda Quartet” (2012) 53 Canadian Business Law Journal 1

New Book on Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act

Thomson Reuters Carswell has just published Statutory Jurisdiction: An Analysis of the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act by Vaughan Black, Stephen G.A. Pitel and Michael Sobkin.  More information is available here.
 
The Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act puts the important topic of the jurisdiction of Canadian provincial courts in civil and commercial cases on a clearer statutory footing.  It is in force in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.  The approach to jurisdiction adopted under the CJPTA is different in several respects from the common law approach, and so provinces that have adopted it are undergoing a period of transition.  One of the key issues for courts in applying the CJPTA is interpreting its provisions and explaining how they operate.  Statutory Jurisdiction: An Analysis of the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act examines the growing body of cases and provides a comprehensive account of how the CJPTA is being interpreted and applied by the courts. 
 
The Supreme Court of Canada has, in its April 2012 decisions on jurisdiction, indicated a willingness to develop the common law in a way that is highly mindful of the approach taken under the CJPTA.  As a result, the analysis of the CJPTA will also be of use to those in Canadian common law provinces and territories that have not enacted the CJPTA. 
 
The book may also appeal as a comparative law resource on conflict of laws, especially to those interested in how traditional rules can be affected, directly and indirectly, by statutory reform.

 

Book: Pocar – Viarengo – Villata (Eds.), Recasting Brussels I

The Italian publishing house CEDAM has published a new volume on the review of the Brussels I regulation: “Recasting Brussels I“. The book, edited by Fausto Pocar, Ilaria Viarengo and Francesca Clara Villata (all from the Univ. of Milan) includes twenty-five papers divided into five parts, devoted to the scope of application (I), rules on jurisdiction (II), choice-of-court agreements (III), coordination of proceedings (IV) and recognition and enforcement of judgments (V).

Here’s the table of contents (.pdf file):

PART I – SCOPE OF APPLICATION

  • Rainer Hausmann, The Scope of Application of the Brussels I Regulation;
  • Ilaria Viarengo, The Removal of Maintenance Obligations from the Scope of Brussels I;
  • Claudio Consolo – Marcello Stella, Brussels I Regulation Amendment Proposals and Arbitration;
  • Peter Kindler, Torpedo Actions and the Interface between Brussels I and International Commercial Arbitration;
  • Stefano Azzali – Michela De Santis, Impact of the Commission’s Proposal to Revise Brussels I Regulation on Arbitration Proceedings Administered by the Chamber of Arbitration of Milan.

PART II – RULES ON JURISDICTION

New Canadian Framework for Assumption of Jurisdiction

After 13 months the Supreme Court of Canada has finally released its decisions in four appeals on the issue of the taking and exercising of jurisdiction.  The main decision is in Club Resorts Ltd v Van Breda (available here) which deals with two of the appeals.  The other two decisions are Breeden v Black (here) and Editions Ecosociete Inc v Banro Corp (here).

The result is perhaps reasonably straightforward: in all four cases the court upholds the decisions of both the motions judges and the Court of Appeal for Ontario.  All courts throughout held that Ontario had jurisdiction in these cases and that Ontario was not a forum non conveniens.

The reasoning is more challenging, and it will take some time for academics, lawyers and lower courts to work out the full impact of these decisions.  The court’s reasoning differs in several respects from that of the courts below.

Supreme Court of Canada Affirms Importance of Jurisdiction Agreements

In Momentous.ca Corp v Canadian American Assn of Professional Baseball Ltd, 2012 SCC 9 (available here) the court has affirmed its willingness to give effect to exclusive jurisdiction agreements in favour of a foreign forum. 

The decision is brief (12 paragraphs) and was released only just over a month after the case was argued.  It is a unanimous decision by the seven judges. 

Academic commentary about the decision has been quite mixed.  I am not aware that anyone thinks the decision is wrong.  There is much consensus that the court reached the correct result: the defendant should have been able to rely on the jurisdiction agreement in favour of North Carolina to resist proceedings in Ontario.  But there is much disagreement about the quality of the brief reasons.

Quebec Court Refuses Jurisdiction on Forum of Necessity Basis

There has not been much to report from Canada for the past few months.  The Supreme Court of Canada’s jurisdiction decision in the Van Breda quartet of cases is still eagerly awaited.  There was some thought these decisions would be released by the end of February but it now appears that will not happen.  These cases were argued in March 2011.

Fortunately, Professor Genevieve Saumier of McGill University has written the following analysis of a recent Quebec Court of Appeal decision which might be of interest in other parts of the world.  The case is ACCI v. Anvil Mining Ltd., 2012 QCCA 117 and it is available here (though only in French, so I appreciate my colleague’s summary).  I am grateful to Professor Saumier for allowing me to post her analysis.

Italo-German Cooperation in the Brussels I Recast: Conference in Milan (25-26 November 2011)

The University of Milan will host a two-day conference on 25 and 26 November 2011 on the review of the Brussels I regulation, organized with the University of Padova, the University of Heidelberg and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München: “Cooperazione Italo-Tedesca nella revisione del Regolamento Bruxelles I – Deutsch-Italienische Kooperation im Rahmen der Neufassung der Brüssel I-Verordnung“. The working languages will be English, Italian and German. Here’s the programme (.pdf):

I Session: Friday 25 November 2011, 10h00

Saluti introduttivi – Grußworte: Prof. Dr. Marino Regini (Università degli Studi di Milano); Prof. Dr. Angela Lupone (Università degli Studi di Milano)

Chair: Prof. Dr. Ilaria Viarengo (University of Milan)

  • Prof. Dr. Rainer Hausmann (Universität Konstanz): L’ambito di applicazione del regolamento – Der Anwendungsbereich der Verordnung;
  • Prof. Dr. Andrea Gattini (Università degli Studi di Padova): I rapporti con le convenzioni internazionali – Das Verhältnis zu internationalen Abkommen;

Clearer Patrimonial Regimes for International Couples: Joint Conference of the European Commission and CNUE

On Monday 17 October 2011 the Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE) is organising, jointly with the EU Commission, a conference in Brussels on the proposals for two regulations on property rights of “international” married couples and registered partnerships: “Clearer Patrimonial Regimes for International Couples”. A dedicated section of the CNUE website has been set up for the event, for further information and registration (there are still some places left to attend the conference). Here’s the programme (interpretation will be available in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Romanian and Spanish):

9.30 – 9.40 Opening: Rudolf Kaindl, CNUE President

9.40 – 10.20 Keynote speeches:

  • Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission
  • Frank Molitor, President of the Luxembourg Chamber of Notaries

10.20 – 10.40 Proposals for Regulations on jurisdiction, applicable law and the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of matrimonial property regimes and regarding the property consequences of registered partnerships: Salla Saastamoinen, Head of Unit, DG Justice, European Commission

11.00 – 12.40 Panel discussion: Session 1 – The applicable law

Moderator: Prof. Katharina Boele-Woelki, University of Utrecht