By Stephen G.A. Pitel, Western University
The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave in H.M.B. Holdings Limited v Attorney General of Antigua and Barbuda. Information about the appeal is available here. The decision being appealed, rendered by the Court of Appeal for Ontario, is available here. In the usual course the appeal will be heard in the late spring or early fall of 2021. The grant of leave is notable because Canada’s top court only hears a small handful of conflict of laws cases in any given year.
In 2014 the Privy Council rendered a judgment in favour of HMB against Antigua and Barbuda for over US$35 million including interest. In 2016 HMB sued at common law to have the Privy Council judgment recognized and enforced in British Columbia. Antigua and Barbuda did not defend and default judgment was granted in 2017. HMB then sought to register the British Columbia decision (not the Privy Council decision) under Ontario’s statutory scheme for the registration of judgments of other Canadian common law provinces. This required the Ontario courts to engage in a process of statutory interpretation, with one of the central issues being whether the scheme applied to the recognition and enforcement judgment or only to what have been called “original judgments”.