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Recent Canadian Conflicts Articles

The following articles about conflict of laws in Canada were published over the past year or so:

Elizabeth Edinger, “Is Duke v Andler Still Good Law in Common Law Canada?” (2011) 51 Can Bus LJ 52-75

Matthew E Castel, “The Impact of the Canadian Apology Legislation when Determining Civil Liability in Canadian Private International Law” (2012) 39 Adv Q 440-451

Nicholas Pengelley, “This Pig Won’t Fly: Death Threats as Grounds for Refusing Enforcement of an Arbitral Award” (2010) 37 Adv Q 386-402

Tanya Monestier, “Is Canada the New ‘Shangri-La’ of Global Securities Class Actions?” (2012) 32 Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business _.

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.

 

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.

Article on Global Class Actions in Canada

Associate Professor Tanya Monestier of the Roger Williams University School of Law has written an article on the willingness of Canadian courts to hear class actions involving a global plaintiff class. It is entitled “Is Canada the New ‘Shangri-La’ of Global Securities Class Actions?” and is forthcoming in 2012 in the Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business. The article is available here from SSRN.

The abstract reads:

There has been significant academic buzz about Silver v. Imax, an Ontario case certifying a global class of shareholders alleging statutory and common law misrepresentation in connection with a secondary market distribution of shares. Although global class actions on a more limited scale have been certified in Canada prior to Imax, it can now be said that global classes have “officially” arrived in Canada. Many predict that the Imax decision means that Ontario will become the new center for the resolution of global securities disputes. This is particularly so after the United States largely relinquished this role last year in Morrison v. National Australia Bank.

Jurisdiction Based on a Domain Name

In Tucows.Com Co. v. Lojas Renner S.A., 2011 ONCA 548 (available here) the Court of Appeal for Ontario considered whether to take jurisdiction in a dispute over the ownership of an internet domain name. 

Tucows is a Nova Scotia corporation with its principal office in Ontario.  Renner is a Brazilian corporation operating a series of retail department stores.  Tucows bought 30,000 domain names from another corporation, and one of the names was renner.com.  Tucows is the registrant of that domain name with the internationally-recognized non-profit organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).  Renner complained to WIPO and in response Tucows sued in Ontario, seeking a declaration that it was the owner of the domain name.  Renner objected to Ontario’s jurisdiction over the dispute.

Canadian Conflict of Laws Articles

Here are some recent articles from Canadian publications:

Janet Walker, “Are National Class Actions Constitutional?  A Reply to Hogg and McKee” (2010) 48 Osgoode Hall LJ 95

Jeffrey Haylock, “The National Class as Extraterritorial Legislation” (2009) 32 Dal LJ 253

Gerald Robertson, “The Law of Domicile: Re Foote Estate” (2010) 48 Alta L Rev 189

Joost Blom, “The Challenge of Jurisdiction: Van Breda v. Village Resorts and Black v. Breeden” (2010) 49 Can Bus LJ 400

Vaughan Black, Joost Blom and Janet Walker, “Current Jurisdictional and Recognitional Issues in the Conflict of Laws” (2011) 50 Can Bus LJ 499

Publication: Baratta (Ed.), Dizionario di Diritto Internazionale Privato

The Italian publishing house Giuffrè has recently published a new book in the law dictionary series Dizionari del diritto privato, directed by Prof. Natalino Irti. The volume, Diritto internazionale privato, edited by Prof. Roberto Baratta, is entirely devoted to Private International Law.

It contains more than 60 entries relating to conflict of laws and jurisdictions, authored by prominent Italian PIL scholars. A detailed TOC is available here.

Title: Diritto internazionale privato, edited by Roberto Baratta, Giuffrè (series: Dizionari del Diritto privato), Milano, 2010, VI-566 pages.

ISBN: 978-88-14-15911-4. Price: EUR 65. Available at Giuffrè.

(Many thanks to Fabrizio Marongiu Buonaiuti, Univ. of Rome “La Sapienza”, for the tip-off)

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.