Tag Archive for: private international law

Kuwait Airways Corporation v. Iraq in the Supreme Court of Canada

In yet another, but not the final, step in the very long-running litigation between KAC, IAC and the Republic of Iraq, the Supreme Court of Canada has held that the enforcement in Quebec of a 2008 judgment of the English Commercial Court ordering Iraq to pay CAD$84 million to KAC is not barred by soveriegn immunity (decision here).

Many on this list will be familar with the facts.  After the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, KAC sued IAC in England for conversion of several airplanes.  As part of that litigation, KAC was able to claim against Iraq for the costs of the actions that had been brought.  This claim flowed from Iraq’s having controlled and funded IAC’s defence, and it was not barred by sovereign immunity in England because it fell within the commercial activity exception.  Iraq did not defend this claim and default judgment was granted.

KAC discovered immovable property owned by Iraq in Quebec and also some undelivered airplanes Iraq was buying from Bombardier Aerospace.  It thus brought proceedings in Quebec to enforce the English judgment.  Two lower courts held the claim was barred by sovereign immunity but the Supreme Court of Canada found that it fell within the commercial activity exception.

The court applied the State Immunity Act, RSC 1985, c S-18 and held that it applied to proceedings to enforce a foreign judgment (paras. 19-20).  The English decision, which addressed the issue of sovereign immunity, was not binding in Canada and was not res judicata (since to be so it would first have to be recognized in Canada, which was the very issue before the court) (para. 22).  The application of the commercial activity exception to the facts is somewhat brief (para. 35), though there is some useful discussion of the scope of the exception in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada (paras. 25-33).

Two other points of interest: 1. the court does not wade into the issue of whether there are any exceptions to sovereign immunity beyond those set out in the statute (para. 24), and 2. the court accepts the factual findings of the English decision as part of its analysis, prior to concluding that the decision is enforceable in Canada (para. 34).  This latter point seems somewhat hard to explain, and the court does not offer much explanation.

The Supreme Court of Canada did not determine if the English judgment is enforceable in Quebec – it only dealt with the sovereign immunity issue.  The case was therefore remanded to the court of first instance to hear the claim for enforcement.  Iraq likely has some further arguments to advance, such as that the Quebec court lacks jurisdiction over it and that the English default judgment is not entitled to recognition and enforcement (for example, due to the lack of a real and substantial connection between England and the claim advanced against Iraq).

Looking Back and Looking Forward at Canadian Private International Law

At the recent 40th Annual Workshop on Commercial and Consumer Law at the University of Toronto, three leading Canadian conflict of laws scholars – Vaughan Black of the Schulich School of Law, Joost Blom of the University of British Columbia and Janet Walker of Osgoode Hall Law School – presented a paper looking back at the last forty years in private international law and offering thoughts on what lies ahead.  Each author picked out a particular theme: a judicial trend toward uniformity between provincial conflicts rules, the impact of Morguard on the structure of conflicts rules, and how the profile of the field has changed over time.  The paper is not currently available on the web but will be published in an upcoming issue of the Canadian Business Law Journal.

The paper was supplemented at the Workshop by Genevieve Saumier of McGill University’s oral comments on trends in Quebec’s private international law.  The session was chaired by Elizabeth Edinger of the University of British Columbia.

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.

Two New Books

Two new books on private international law have recently been published in Canada.

The first is a new textbook: Stephen G.A. Pitel & Nicholas S. Rafferty, Conflict of Laws (Toronto: Irwin Law Inc., 2010).  Though I say it myself, for those in other countries this book should serve as a useful comparative reference to the Canadian law on the subject.  More information is available here.

The second is the third edition of the Canadian casebook in the area: Nicholas S. Rafferty, general editor, Private International Law in Common Law Canada: Cases, Text, and Materials, 3d ed. (Toronto: Emond Montgomery Publications Limited, 2010).  There are seven contributors to the casebook: Professors Nicholas Rafferty, Joost Blom, Elizabeth Edinger, Genevieve Saumier, Stephen Pitel, Janet Walker and  Catherine Walsh.  More information is available here.

New Book: Foreign Currency Claims in the Conflict of Laws

Hart Publishing has published the second title in its Studies in Private International Law series, Foreign Currency Claims in the Conflict of Laws by Professor Vaughan Black of the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University.  More information is available here.

The web page for the book advises us that “This book takes a comparative look at how common law courts have addressed damages claims when foreign currencies are involved, and at statutory responses to that issue. It describes the practices of UK, Commonwealth and American courts in this field and draws both on principles of private international law and of damages assessment to analyse current practice.”

My congratulations to my Canadian colleague.

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.

Conference: “Tendenze e resistenze all’uniformazione del diritto privato e del diritto processuale civile nell’Unione europea” (Padova, 17-18 September)

UniPD-LogoGiurisOn 17 and 18 September 2009 the Faculty of Law of the University of Padova, in collaboration with the Bar Councils of Padova and Triveneto, will host an international conference on current trends and resistances in the uniformization of European private law and civil procedural law, organised by Profs. Marco De Cristofaro and M. Laura Picchio Forlati on the occasion of the 19th annual meeting of the European Group for Private International Law (GEDIP-EGPIL): “Tendenze e resistenze all’uniformazione del diritto privato e del diritto processuale civile nell’Unione europea“. Here’s the programme (.pdf version):

First session – Thursday 17 September (h 15-18): Diritto internazionale privato e diritto uniforme alla prova del diritto europeo dei contratti

Chair: Nicolò Lipari (Univ. of Rome “La Sapienza”)

  • Andrea Giardina (Univ. of Rome “La Sapienza”): Il concorso di metodi alternativi di uniformazione nel diritto europeo dei contratti;
  • Jürgen Basedow (Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg): Lex mercatoria e diritto internazionale privato europeo dei contratti – un’analisi economica;
  • Fabrizio Marrella (Univ. of Venice): L’autonomia contrattuale tra diritto internazionale privato europeo e codice europeo dei contratti;
  • Erik Jayme (Univ. of Heidelberg): La violazione del diritto d’autore: giurisdizione e legge applicabile (Bruxelles I, Roma I e II).

Second session – Friday 18 September (h 9.30-13): Il mutuo riconoscimento delle sentenze straniere nel confronto/scontro tra diritto processuale inglese e diritti processuali continentali

Chair: Kurt Siehr (Univ. of Zürich)

  • Trevor Hartley (London School of Economics and Political Science): Asset freezing orders in the context of recognizing judgments from other EU States and from third countries;
  • Alberto Malatesta (University “Carlo Cattaneo” – LIUC of Castellanza): Il riconoscimento delle sentenze rese dal giudice competente a norma della Convenzione dell’Aja sulla scelta del foro;
  • Andrea Gattini (Univ. of Padova): Il riconoscimento in Europa delle sentenze in tema di punitive damages;
  • Marco De Cristofaro (Univ. of Padova): Ordine pubblico processuale e riconoscimento ed esecuzione delle decisioni nello spazio giudiziario europeo.

Further information and an online registration procedure are available on the conference’s webpage.

(Many thanks to Prof. Fabrizio Marrella)

Italian Commentary on Rome I Regulation

NLCCAn extensive and thorough commentary on the Rome I Regulation – the first, to the best of my knowledge, to provide an article-by-article analysis of the rules of the new EC instrument on the law applicable to contractual obligations – has been published in the latest issue (no. 3-4/2009) of the Italian journal Le Nuove Leggi Civili Commentate , one of the most authoritative Italian law review, published bimonthly by CEDAM (Padova).

The commentary (nearly 450 pages) has been edited by Francesco Salerno and Pietro Franzina (both Univ. of Ferrara), and has been written by a team of Italian scholars: Paolo Bertoli (Univ. of Insubria), Giacomo Biagioni (Univ. of Cagliari), Bernardo Cortese (Univ. of Padova), Anna Gardella (Univ. Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan), Antonio Leandro (Univ. of Bari), Fabrizio Marongiu Buonaiuti (Univ. of Rome “La Sapienza”), Giuseppina Pizzolante (Univ. of Bari), Paolo Venturi (Univ. of Siena). The same group of PIL experts had already published, back in 2007, a volume discussing the 2005 Rome I Commission’s Proposal (see our post here).

Here’s the comments’ list:

Introductory remarks: F. Salerno, F. Marongiu Buonaiuti; Art. 1: P. Bertoli (general comment and lit. i), G. Biagioni (lit. a-c), A. Gardella (lit. df), P. Franzina (lit. gh), G. Pizzolante (lit. j); Art. 2: P. Franzina; Art. 3: A. Gardella, G. Biagioni; Art. 4: A. Leandro (general comment), P. Franzina (lit. a, c, d and g), F. Marongiu Buonaiuti (lit. b, e, and f), A. Gardella (lit. h); Art. 5: G. Biagioni; Arts. 6-7: G. Pizzolante; Art. 8: P. Venturi; Art. 9: G. Biagioni; Arts. 10-11: B. Cortese; Art. 12: A. Leandro; Art. 13: F. Marongiu Buonaiuti; Arts. 14-18: A. Leandro; Art. 19: F. Marongiu Buonaiuti; Art. 20: P. Franzina; Art. 21: G. Biagioni; Art. 22: P. Franzina; Art. 23: F. Marongiu Buonaiuti; Arts. 24-26: P. Franzina; Arts. 27-29: F. Marongiu Buonaiuti.

A detailed table of contents is available here.

Publication: “La nuova disciplina comunitaria della legge applicabile ai contratti (Roma I)”

Boschiero_Venezia_RomaI__348_9562The papers presented at the conference on the Rome I Regulation hosted in November 2008 by the University of Venice “Ca’ Foscari” (see here for the webcast) have been published by the Italian publishing house Giappichelli under the editorship of Nerina Boschiero: La nuova disciplina comunitaria della legge applicabile ai contratti (Roma I).

Here’s the table of contents:

Presentazione (N. Boschiero).

Introduction. Considérations de méthode (P. Lagarde).

Parte I: Problemi generali.

  • Funzione ed oggetto dell’autonomia della volontà nell’era della globalizzazione del contratto (F. Marrella);
  • I limiti al principio d’autonomia posti dalle norme generali del regolamento Roma I. Considerazioni sulla “conflict involution” europea in materia contrattuale (N. Boschiero);
  • La legge applicabile in mancanza di scelta dei contraenti (U. Villani);
  • Le norme di applicazione necessaria nel regolamento “Roma I” (A. Bonomi);
  • A United Kingdom Perspective on the Rome I Regulation (J. Fawcett).

Parte II: Temi specifici.

  • La definizione dell’ambito di applicazione del regolamento Roma I: criteri generali e responsabilità precontrattuale (P. Bertoli);
  • I contratti di assicurazione tra mercato interno e diritto internazionale privato (P. Piroddi);
  • Contratti con i consumatori e regolamento Roma I (F. Seatzu);
  • La legge applicabile ai contratti individuali di lavoro nel Regolamento “Roma I” (F. Seatzu);
  • Il contratto internazionale di trasporto di persone (G. Contaldi);
  • Le relazioni intercorrenti tra il regolamento Roma I e le convenzioni internazionali (in vigore e non) (A. Bonfanti);
  • La legge applicabile alla negoziazione di strumenti finanziari nel regolamento Roma I (F.C. Villata);
  • La legge regolatrice delle conseguenze restitutorie e risarcitorie della nullità del contratto nei regolamenti Roma I e Roma II (Z. Crespi Reghizzi);
  • I contratti relativi alla proprietà intellettuale alla luce della nuova disciplina comunitaria di conflitto. Analisi critica e comparatistica (N. Boschiero).

Osservazioni conclusive (T. Treves).

Title: La nuova disciplina comunitaria della legge applicabile ai contratti (Roma I), edited by Nerina Boschiero, Giappichelli (Torino), 2009, XVI – 548 pages.

ISBN: 978-88-348-9562-7. Price: EUR 50. Available at Giappichelli.