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Ontario Court Enforces American Judgments Against Iran

Under the State Immunity Act, foreign states are generally immune from being sued in Canada.  This includes being sued on a foreign judgment.  However, in 2012 Canada enacted legislation to give victims of terrorism the ability to sue a foreign state that sponsored the terrorism.  It also made it easier for foreign judgments against such a state to be enforced in Canada.

In Tracy v The Iranian Ministry of Information and Security, 2016 ONSC 3759 (released June 9, 2016; likely to be posted in the week of June 13, 2016, in CanLII) the Ontario Superior Court of Justice had to consider these legislative reforms and how they applied to a series of American judgments rendered against Iran in favour of American victims of terrorist acts which Iran was found to have sponsored.  The court held that Iran was not immune from the enforcement proceedings and that accordingly the American judgments were enforceable against certain assets of Iran in Ontario.

Video From 2015 Journal of Private International Law Conference

As many will know, in September 2015 the University of Cambridge hosted the Journal of Private International Law Conference (see here).  Video of the four plenary sessions has now been uploaded to YouTube.  The videos can be accessed through these links: first plenary, second plenary, third plenary, fourth plenary.

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.

Reminder: 2015 JPIL Conference at Cambridge: Booking Deadlines

The 10th Anniversary of the Journal of Private International Law Conference is being held at the Faculty of Law, Cambridge University on 3-5 September 2015.  Booking for accommodation closes soon – on 15th July.  Booking for the conference and dinner will close on 13th August.

The conference offers an excellent opportunity to hear and discuss many issues currently facing private international law.

More information and registration is here.  A draft programme is available on the same web site.

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.

Journal of Private International Law 10th Anniversary Conference: 3-5 September 2015

This conference, the next in a series that has featured Madrid (2013), Milan (2011), New York (2009), Birmingham (2007) and Aberdeen (2005), will be held in Cambridge, England at the University of Cambridge.  As in the past, it features a diverse line-up of exciting speakers on interesting topics.  All essential information can be found on the conference web site (http://www.pilconf15.law.cam.ac.uk/) which can be accessed here.  In particular, the program and additional essential information can be obtained.

Accommodation is in Harvey Court, Gonville & Caius College, West Road.  All rooms are ensuite and there are some doubles.  It is very close to the Law Faculty.  The conference dinner on Thursday evening is in Caius Old Hall.  Both accommodation and dinner can be booked via the same link.  The further information gives travel advice about coming to Cambridge.

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.

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”.

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’.

Canadian Conferences with Conflicts Components

Two Canadian conferences upcoming this autumn have sessions devoted to the conflict of laws.

The University of Windsor is hosting “Justice Beyond the State: Transnationalism and Law”  on September 20-21, 2013.   One session is entitled “Private International Law, Comity, Judicial Co-ordination” and another is entitled “Private International Law, the Foreign within the Domestic”.  Additional information is available here.

McGill University is hosting the 43rd Annual Workshop on Commercial and Consumer Law on October 11-12, 2013.  The closing session is entitled “International Jurisdiction after Club Resorts v. Van Breda“.  Additional information is available here.