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Canada’s Top Court to Hear Enforcement Dispute

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”.

Have your say: the EU opens Public Consultation into the possible accession to the 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention

The EU has opened a Public Consultation into a possible accession to the 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention. The Consultation will run from 22 June 2020 – 05 October 2020 (midnight, Brussels time).

The Consultation is expansive and the target audience is described as follows: businesses and citizens involved or likely to get involved in international trade and investment; public authorities (including justice professionals); social partners organisations (trade unions and employers organisations), trade, business and professional associations, including consumer and business organisations, as well as professional organisations representing lawyers and members of research or academic institutions.

Importantly, the Consultation is not limited to EU Stakeholders. Rather, the EU expressly invites non-EU Stakeholders to participate and have their say.

A true game changer and the apex stone of international commercial litigation – the NILR Special Edition on the 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention is now available as final, paginated volume

On 2 July 2019, the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) adopted the 2019 Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil or Commercial Matters (2019 HCCH Judgments Convention). The instrument has already been described as a true game changer and the apex stone in international commercial litigation.

To celebrate the adoption of the 2019 HCCH Judgments Convention, the Netherlands International Law Review (NILR) produced a special edition entirely dedicated to the instrument.

Volume 67(1) of the NILR, which is now available in its final, paginated version, features contributions from authors closely involved in the development of the instruments. The articles provide deep insights into the making, and intended operation, of the instrument. They are a valuable resource for law makers, practitioners, members of the judiciary and academics alike.

The NILR’s Volume comprises the following contributions (in order of print, open access contributions are indicated; the summaries are, with some minor modifications, those published by the NILR).

What Does it Mean to Submit to a Foreign Forum?

The meaning of submission was the central question, though by no means the only one, in the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Barer v Knight Brothers LLC, 2019 SCC 13 (available here).  Knight sought enforcement of a Utah default judgment against Barer in Quebec.  The issue was governed by Quebec’s law on the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, which is set out in various provisions of the Civil Code of Quebec (so much statutory interpretation analysis ensued).  Aspects of the decision may be of interest to those in other countries that have similar provisions in their own codes.

The court held that the Utah decision was enforceable in Quebec.  Seven judges (Gascon J writing the majority decision) held that Barer had submitted to the Utah court’s jurisdiction.  Two judges held that he had not.  One of them (Brown J) held that the Utah court had jurisdiction on another basis, and so concurred in the result, while the other (Cote J) held it did not, and so dissented.

Conference: Cross Border Family Litigation in Europe. The Brussels IIbis Recast (Milan, 14 october 2016)

The University of Milan (Department of International, Legal, Historical and Political Studies) will host on Friday 14 October 2016 (14h00) a conference on “Cross border family litigation in Europe. The Brussels IIbis recast“.

Here is the programme (the sessions will be held in English and Italian):

Welcoming addresses

  • Chiara Tonelli (Vice-Rector for Research, Univ. of Milan)
  • Laura Ammannati (Director of the Department of International, Legal, Historical and Political Studies)

Chair: Stefania Bariatti (Univ. of Milan)

The Brussels IIbis recast

  • Joanna Serdynska (Civil Justice Policy, DG Justice, European Commission): The Commission’s proposal
  • Anatol Dutta (Universität Regensburg – MPI Hamburg): A comment on the Commission’s Proposal from a member of the Commission’s Expert Group

Round Table – The Commission’s Proposal: exchange of views among judges, practitioners and academics

  • Giuseppe Buffone (Milan Court, Family Division)
  • Monica Velletti (Rome Court, Family Division)

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.

In summarizing its conclusion (para 3) the court stated “In an action to recognize and enforce a foreign judgment where the foreign court validly assumed jurisdiction, there is no need to prove that a real and substantial connection exists between the enforcing forum and either the judgment debtor or the dispute.  It makes little sense to compel such a connection when, owing to the nature of the action itself, it will frequently be lacking. Nor is it necessary, in order for the action to proceed, that the foreign debtor contemporaneously possess assets in the enforcing forum.  Jurisdiction to recognize and enforce a foreign judgment within Ontario exists by virtue of the debtor being served on the basis of the outstanding debt resulting from the judgment.”

Recognition of Foreign Bankruptcy and the Requirement of Reciprocity (Swiss Federal Court)

The Swiss Federal Court recently issued a noteworthy judgment (scheduled for publication in the official reports) concerning the requirement of reciprocity with respect to the recognition of foreign bankruptcy decrees. The judgment (in German) is available here.

Marjolaine Jakob, the author of the following summary and comment, is a researcher at the University of Zurich, Faculty of Law.

Introduction

Milan Conference on the Reform of the Brussels I Regime (13 December 2013)

The University “Luigi Bocconi” of Milan will host on Friday 13 December (9h30 – 13h00) a conference on the recast of the Brussels I reg., organized in collaboration with the International Law Association: “The Reform of the ‘Brussels I’ Regime – The Recast Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012”. A substantial part of the colloquium will be held in English. Here’s the programme (available as a .pdf file):

Welcome Address: Giorgio Sacerdoti (Università Bocconi)

Opening Remarks: Alberto Malatesta (Secretary, ILA-Italy)

Chair: Fausto Pocar (Università degli Studi di Milano)

  • The Revised Brussels I Regulation – A general outlook: The Rt. Hon. Lord Jonathan Mance (Judge, Supreme Court of the UK and Chair, Executive Council, ILA);

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’.

Book: Pocar – Viarengo – Villata (Eds.), Recasting Brussels I

The Italian publishing house CEDAM has published a new volume on the review of the Brussels I regulation: “Recasting Brussels I“. The book, edited by Fausto Pocar, Ilaria Viarengo and Francesca Clara Villata (all from the Univ. of Milan) includes twenty-five papers divided into five parts, devoted to the scope of application (I), rules on jurisdiction (II), choice-of-court agreements (III), coordination of proceedings (IV) and recognition and enforcement of judgments (V).

Here’s the table of contents (.pdf file):

PART I – SCOPE OF APPLICATION

  • Rainer Hausmann, The Scope of Application of the Brussels I Regulation;
  • Ilaria Viarengo, The Removal of Maintenance Obligations from the Scope of Brussels I;
  • Claudio Consolo – Marcello Stella, Brussels I Regulation Amendment Proposals and Arbitration;
  • Peter Kindler, Torpedo Actions and the Interface between Brussels I and International Commercial Arbitration;
  • Stefano Azzali – Michela De Santis, Impact of the Commission’s Proposal to Revise Brussels I Regulation on Arbitration Proceedings Administered by the Chamber of Arbitration of Milan.

PART II – RULES ON JURISDICTION