Tag Archive for: jurisdiction

Canadian Case on State Immunity

In Kazemi (Estate of) v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 2011 QCCS 196 (available here) the estate of Zahra Kazemi and her son, Stephan Kazemi, sued Iran and certain state officials in Quebec, alleging that in 2003 Ms. Kazemi was tortured and assassinated in Iran.  The defendants argued that the claim could not succeed due to state immunity. 

Much of the court’s analysis involves the provisions of the State Immunity Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-18.  The court has to consider whether this statute is a complete code on the issue of state immunity or whether it is open to courts to create exceptions to the statutory immunity beyond those listed in the statute.  The court also has to address whether aspects of the statute are constitutional. 

The court ends up concluding that the estate has no claim because the wrongs done to her occurred in Iran and so are covered by the immunity under the statute.  However, the court allows the claim by Stephan Kazemi, a claim for his own losses arising from hearing the reports of what was done to his mother, to continue since his losses were suffered in Quebec, not Iran, and so the immunity does not cover them (see section 6 of the statute). 

The decision is lengthy (220 paragraphs), and yet it does not mention the recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on state immunity: Kuwait Airways Corporation v. Republic of Iraq from October 2010.

Italian Forum on the Brussels I Review Proposal (2): Lis Pendens and Related Actions

Following our previous post on the forum on the Brussels I review currently hosted by the website of the Italian Society of International Law (SIDI-ISIL), another comment has been added, on the amendments proposed by the Commission in respect of lis pendens and related actions. The contribution is authored by Fabrizio Marongiu Buonaiuti (University of Rome “La Sapienza”), who has recently published an extensive monograph on the regime of lis pendens and related actions in Italian law, in the European regulations and in other international instruments (Litispendenza e connessione internazionale. Strumenti di coordinamento tra giurisdizioni statali in materia civile, Napoli, 2008):

New Articles in Canadian Publications

Two recent publications contain several topical articles:

In the 2010 issue (volume 60) of the University of New Brunswick Law Journal are the following five articles: Catherine Walsh: “The Uses and Abuses of Party Autonomy in International Contracts”; Joshua Karton, “Party Autonomy and Choice of Law: Is International Arbitration Leading the Way or Marching to the Beat of its own Drummer?”; Stephen Pitel, “Reformulating a Real and Substantial Connection”; John McEvoy, “‘After the Storm: The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Private International Law’: Jurisdiction”; and Elizabeth Edinger, “The Problem of Parallel Actions: The Softer Alternative”.  This journal is available to subscribers, including through Westlaw.

In Jeff Berryman & Rick Bigwood, eds., The Law of Remedies: New Directions in the Common Law (Toronto: Irwin Law Inc., 2010) are four articles that relate to the conflict of laws: David Capper, “Mareva Orders in Globalized Litigation”; Scott Fairley, “Exporting Your Remedy: A Canadian Perspective on the Recognition and Enforcement of Monetary and Other Relief”; Garry Davis, “Damages in Transnational Tort Litigation: Legislative Restrictions and the Substance/Procedure Distinction in Australian Conflict of Laws”; and Russell Weaver & David Partlett, “The Globalization of Defamation”.  This collection of articles is available for purchase here.

Canadian Articles on Multijurisdictional Class Actions

Three recent articles have been published about multijurisdictional class actions in Canada.  One of the most critical issues is whether the courts of a province will enforce a class action judgment from another province or another country approving a settlement that purports to bind plaintiffs resident in the province.  I know that similar issues are under consideration in other countries, so this literature could be of value as comparative law.

Genevieve Saumier, “Competing Class Actions Across Canada: Still at the Starting Gate after Canada Post v. Levine” (2010) 48 C.B.L.J. 462

Tanya Monestier, “Personal Jurisdiction over Non-Resident Class Members: Have We Gone Down the Wrong Road?” (2010) 45 Texas International Law Journal 537

Peter W. Hogg & S. Gordon McKee, “Are National Class Actions Constitutional?” (2010) 26 N.J.C.L. 279

These take their place alongside several other articles on this topic from the past few years.

Brussels I Review: Responses to the Commission’s Green Paper

The contributions received by the European Commission in response to the Green Paper on the review of the Brussels I reg. (published in April 2009 together with the Commission’s report on its application: see our post here) have been recently published on the DG FSJ website.

Over 120 contributions have been collected, from Member States’ governments, parliaments and other public authorities, third States (Switzerland), commercial, financial and civil society organisations, NGOs, and the legal and academic sector.

Readers of this blog had the opportunity to read in draft the excellent contribution prepared by Andrew Dickinson, and some comments and responses to his analysis (see this post by Prof. Jonathan Hill and this one by Martin Illmer and Ben Steinbrück).

Among the recent academic initiatives on the review of reg. 44/2001, see also our post on the latest issue of IPRax (2/2010), where some of the papers presented at the conference held in Heidelberg in December 2009 have been published. A two-day conference, organized by the Spanish Presidency of the EU, will be held in Madrid on 15 and 16 March 2010: “Bruselas I: La reforma de la litigación internacional en Europa“.

(Many thanks to Federico GarauConflictus Legum – and Rafael ArenasÀrea de Dret Internacional Privat)

Reformulating a Real and Substantial Connection

In Canada, the test for taking jurisdiction over an out-of-province defendant requires that there be “a real and substantial connection” between the dispute and the forum.  In 2002 the Court of Appeal for Ontario created a framework for analyzing a real and substantial connection, setting out, in Muscutt v. Courcelles, eight factors to consider.  This framework became the standard in Ontario and was adopted by appellate courts in some other Canadian provinces.  However, in 2009, in preparing to hear two appeals of decisions on motions challenging the court’s jurisdiction, the Court of Appeal for Ontario indicated that it was willing to consider whether any changes were required to the Muscutt framework.  The two cases, consolidated on appeal as Van Breda v. Village Resorts Limited, 2010 ONCA 84 (available here), each concerned serious injuries that were suffered outside of Ontario.

Rule 17.02 of the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a plaintiff may serve a defendant outside Ontario with an originating process in certain defined categories of cases.  Prior to Morguard Investments Ltd. v. De Savoye, the analysis of jurisdiction centered on whether the plaintiff’s claim fell within one or more of the enumerated categories.  However, Morguard established, and Muscutt confirmed, that rule 17.02 did not in itself create jurisdiction.  Separate and apart from whether the claim fell inside the categories, the plaintiff had to establish that there was a real and substantial connection between the dispute and the forum.

In Van Breda the court made a significant change to the relationship between the categories in rule 17.02 and the real and substantial connection requirement.  It has now held that if a case falls within the categories in rule 17.02, other than rules 17.02(h) and (o), a real and substantial connection with Ontario shall be presumed to exist.  The central catalyst for this change is section 10 of the model Civil Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act.  Section 3 of that statute provides in quite general terms that a court has jurisdiction when there is a real and substantial connection between the dispute and the forum.  However, section 10 contains a list of specific situations in which a real and substantial connection is presumed to exist.  Ontario has not adopted the CJPTA, but in Van Breda the court has adopted the CJPTA’s basic approach. 

Even with this presumption, a framework for analyzing whether there is a real and substantial connection is still required in any case where a defendant seeks to refute the presumption, any case in which a plaintiff is relying on rule 17.02(h) or (o) so that no presumption arises, and any case in which a plaintiff does not rely on 17.02 at all and instead seeks leave of the court to serve a defendant outside Ontario under rule 17.03.  Prior to Van Breda the courts used the Muscutt framework, which considered the following eight factors to determine whether there was a real and substantial connection to Ontario: (1) the connection between the forum and the plaintiff’s claim, (2) the connection between the forum and the defendant, (3) unfairness to the defendant in taking jurisdiction, (4) unfairness to the plaintiff in not taking jurisdiction, (5) the involvement of other parties, (6) the court’s willingness to enforce a foreign judgment rendered on the same jurisdictional basis, (7) whether the dispute is international or interprovincial, and (8) comity and the standards of jurisdiction used by other courts.

In Van Breda the court determined that it was necessary to “simplify the test and to provide for more clarity and ease in its application”.  It held that “the core of the real and substantial connection test” is factors (1) and (2), and held that factors (3) to (8) will now “serve as analytic tools to assist the court in assessing the significance of the connections between the forum, the claim and the defendant”.  The court affirms that factors (3) to (8) remain relevant to the issue of jurisdiction, but the court nevertheless reworks the framework, ostensibly so that no one factor from factors (3) to (8) could be analyzed separately from the other factors and could be independently determinative of the outcome.  It is not clear that this change was necessary or that it makes the framework clearer and easier to apply.

For many, Van Breda violates the idiom “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  The Muscutt framework was well-known and was working effectively.  It was relatively easy to explain and to apply.  In time we will know if as much can be said for the use of presumptions and the Van Breda framework, but for the moment there are questions about how the presumption will operate when challenged by a defendant and about the ongoing role of the factors the court now calls analytic tools.

Swiss Institute of Comparative Law: Programme of the Conference on the EU’s Proposal on Succession

As we anticipated in a previous post, on Friday, 19th March 2010, the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law (ISDC) will host the 22nd Journée de droit international privé, organised in collaboration with the University of Lausanne (Center of Comparative Law, European Law and International Law – CDCEI). The conference will analyse the Commission’s Proposal on Succession: “Successions internationales. Réflexions autour du futur règlement européen et de son impact pour la Suisse”.

Here’s the programme:

Première session (09h00) – La proposition de règlement européen

Ouverture de la journée: Christina Schmid (director a.i., ISDC); Andrea Bonomi (director, CDCEI, Univ. of Lausanne)

Chair: Lukas Heckendorn Urscheler (Head of Legal Division, ISDC)

  • Mari Aalto (national expert, European Commission, DG FSJ): Introduction au projet européen en matière de succession;
  • Paul Lagarde (Univ. of Paris I): Les grandes lignes de la future réglementation européenne: l’approche unitaire et le rattachement à la résidence habituelle;
  • Andrea Bonomi (Univ. of Lausanne): Le choix de la loi applicable à la succession;


Chair: Andrea Bonomi (Univ. of Lausanne)

  • Olivier Remien (Univ. of Würzburg): La validité et les effets des actes à cause de mort;
  • Richard Frimston (Partner, Russell-Cooke LLP): The scope of the law applicable to the succession, in particular the administration of the estate;
  • Eva Lein (British Institute of International and Comparative Law): Les compétences spéciales dans la proposition de Règlement;


– – – – –

Deuxième session (14h00) – Round Table: L’impact du futur règlement sur le droit suisse

Chair: Andreas Bucher (Univ. of Geneva)

  • Peter Breitschmid (Univ. of Zurich)
  • Florence Guillaume (Univ. of Neuchâtel) (invited)

– – – – –

Troisième session (15h30) – Round Table: La reconnaissance des certificats d’héritiers

Chair: Christina Schmid (ISDC)

  • Andreas Fötschl (Univ. of Bergen and ISDC)
  • Paolo Pasqualis (notary in Venice, Council of the Notariats of the European Union – CNUE) (invited)
  • Franco del Pero (notary in Morges)

The conference will be held in French, English and German (no translation is provided).

For further information (including fees) see the conference’s programme and the registration form, available on the ISDC’s website.

(Many thanks to Prof. Andrea Bonomi)

Approach to Jurisdiction under the CJPTA

The British Columbia Court of Appeal’s decision in Stanway v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc., 2009 BCCA 592 (available here) is an important contribution to the developing Canadian jurisprudence on the Civil Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act, a statute governing the taking of jurisdiction that has been adopted in several provinces.

A leading common law approach to the question of whether there is a real and substantial connection between a dispute and the forum (the test for jurisdiction) is that outlined in the Court of Appeal for Ontario’s decision in Muscutt v. Courcelles (available here).  There is an ongoing controversy about the extent to which that approach has any relevance after a province has adopted the CJPTA.  This is because the statute sets out an open-ended list of situations in which a real and substantial connection is presumed to exist (s. 10).  However, it remains open to a plaintiff (under s. 3) to otherwise establish such a connection, and on one view the approach in Muscutt is relevant to that analysis.  See in Nova Scotia the decision in Bouch v. Penny (available here).

In Stanway the court expresses considerable hostility towards the Muscutt approach.  It references academic and judicial criticism of the decision, while selectively omitting any reference to the competing academic and judicial support for it.  It makes clear that it has no application in cases that are caught by s. 10.  It does not indicate what should happen in cases outside that section, but the overall tone suggests that it would not welcome using Muscutt in such cases.

My own view is that the Muscutt analysis should remain relevant to cases that are not caught by the statutory presumptions – cases which the statute has deliberately chosen to leave governed by the open-ended language of the real and substantial connection test.

Some might find it interesting that despite the difference in analysis between the appellate court and the motions court judge in Stanway, this is one of many cases where the two competing analyses reach the same conclusion (here that the court of British Columbia has jurisdiction).

The approach in Muscutt is the dominant one in Ontario, which has not enacted the CJPTA.  However, last October the Court of Appeal for Ontario heard submissions about whether that approach should be modified.  The decision in those appeals is eagerly awaited.

Swiss Institute of Comparative Law: Conference on the EU’s Proposal on Succession

ISDC_logo_bmpOn Friday, 19th March 2010, the 22nd Journée de droit international privé, organised by the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law (ISDC) and the University of Lausanne (Center of Comparative Law, European Law and Foreign Legislations), will analyse the Commission’s Proposal on Succession: “Droit international privé des successions – quel futur en Europe et en Suisse?”.

The list of confirmed speakers includes Prof. Andrea Bonomi (Univ. of Lausanne), Prof. Paul Lagarde (Univ. of Paris I – Sorbonne ) and Prof. Oliver Remien (Univ. of Würzburg). A detailed programme and further information will be posted as soon as available.

Text of the Commission’s Proposal on Succession and Wills Finally Available

Following our previous post on the presentation by the Commission of the Proposal for a regulation on succession and wills (COM(2009) 154 fin. of 14 October 2009), the text of the Proposal has been made available on the PreLex website, where the codecision procedure has been filed under no. 2009/0157/COD. Only the English, French and German versions are currently accessible.

The proposal is accompanied by two Commission Staff working documents (in English):

  • doc. n. SEC(2009)410 of 14 October 2009, Impact Assessment;
  • doc. n. SEC(2009)411 of 14 October 2009, Summary of the Impact Assessment.

Direct linking to these supplements does not currently work: to download them, use the search form at the bottom of this page.