British Columbia recently introduced amendments to its International Commercial Arbitration Act. The proposed amendments are intended to modernise British Columbia's international arbitration legislation and align it with accepted international standards. In so doing, the government hopes to position Vancouver as a more desirable location to host international commercial arbitration proceedings.
A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision has affirmed the favourable Canadian approach to the enforcement of international arbitration awards under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law. The court of appeal's restraint when asked to set aside and refuse to enforce an international arbitral award is consistent with recent cases, which have upheld the narrow circumstances in which courts can do so.
The Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta recently applied the principle of competence-competence in the context of a parallel litigation and arbitration dispute resolution procedure. As parallel dispute resolution procedures give rise to a complex interplay between the jurisdiction of the courts and arbitral tribunals, the case is an excellent example of the practical application of the principle and can serve as a useful tool for both domestic and international arbitration practitioners.
The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador recently dismissed an application by the province under Sections 14 and 34(2)(a)(iii) of the Arbitration Act. The court held that the parties had legally contracted out of the act, narrowing the circumstances in which a court could set aside an arbitral award. The decision furthers the general theme of recent Canadian jurisprudence, which has emphasised party autonomy and deference to reasonable arbitral decisions.
The Quebec Superior Court recently held that a party promoter's claims of defamation and breach of contract against Justin Bieber were subject to an arbitration clause entered into between the promoter and the pop star's agent. The decision sets out the factors that Canadian courts will consider when deciding whether a sufficient agency relationship exists in order to bind a third party to an arbitration agreement.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently issued another decision in the ongoing saga on the enforcement of arbitral awards against the Kyrgyz Republic by various arbitral creditors. Consistent with the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law and previous case law, the decision confirms that only the most egregious circumstances will warrant a refusal to recognise an arbitral award for public policy reasons.
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently confirmed a decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice staying an action commenced by Novatrax International Inc against a German company with which it had contracted, on the basis of a commitment to arbitrate in the contract. The court characterised the arbitration agreement as a 'forum selection clause' and applied a conflicts of law analysis based on forum non conveniens.
In a recent decision dismissing a petition to set aside an arbitral award, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice affirmed Canada's commitment to the arbitral process as a final, binding method of dispute resolution, and reiterated the limited ability of arbitral debtors to set aside an award under Section 34(2) of the Commercial Arbitration Code.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently ruled on the ability of arbitral creditors to seize assets of state-owned entities. The decision follows a line of decisions from Ontario courts regarding attempts to seize shares in an Ontario company held by a Kyrgyz-owned entity and serves as a reminder of some of the difficulties arbitral creditors may face when collecting amounts owed under foreign arbitral awards.
An Alberta court recently considered the complexities that can arise in multi-party disputes where arbitration clauses may not be included in all of the relevant agreements. The court balanced the issues of judicial efficiency with the need to respect parties' agreements (or absence thereof) to refer a dispute to arbitration under Alberta's International Commercial Arbitration Act.
The Ontario Court of Appeal has recently clarified the scope of an application judge's discretion to set aside an arbitral award pursuant to Article 34(2) of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law. The decision in Popack v Lipsyzc affirms the decision of the lower court to uphold an arbitral award in the unique circumstances of that case despite an ex parte meeting that amounted to a breach of the arbitration agreement.
Canada and the European Union have released the final legal text of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The ad hoc nature of arbitral tribunals has led to wide variability in rulings and controversial interpretations of investment protection provisions. The final CETA text introduces a groundbreaking change to address this criticism.
The recent Alberta Court of Appeal decision confirms that the legal principles of res judicata and issue estoppel can, as a matter of law, apply to commercial arbitrations. Although Enmax Energy involved legal questions relating to a domestic arbitration, its findings are consistent with other decisions across the Canadian provinces.
In a recent decision the Ontario Superior Court of Justice confirmed that an arbitration party should not unreasonably be deprived of its contractual right to appoint an arbitrator of its choice, and that a party bringing unsubstantiated allegations of a reasonable apprehension of bias may face cost consequences. The decision sends a strong warning against making baseless attempts to upset the arbitration process.
Mareva injunctions can be a powerful tool to preserve assets pending the enforcement or rendering of an arbitral award. The international arbitration proceeding of Stans Energy Corp v Kyrgyz Republic provides both a useful example of the effectiveness of Mareva injunctions and a cautionary reminder of the strict obligations on counsel to disclose all material facts related to a Mareva application.
A recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision affirms the Canadian courts' propensity to uphold international arbitral awards under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Model Law. It sends a strong reminder to courts to carefully weigh potential prejudices before setting aside an arbitral award, regardless of the grounds advanced for doing so.
An Alberta court has confirmed that a party choosing to commence an action in the face of a valid agreement to arbitrate runs the risk of being left without a remedy, and that commencing litigation when arbitration is the proper forum does not stop the limitation period clock from running. The court held that in this case it was too late to commence arbitration now that the limitation period had expired.
A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice clarifies that the exception to enforcing an arbitration agreement expressed in Seidel v TELUS is limited and confined to clear statements of legislative intent to preserve the jurisdiction of the courts. This is consistent with Canadian courts' respect for arbitration and their narrow view of the exceptions to enforcing arbitration clauses.
In a recent decision the Supreme Court, in the context of a challenge to a domestic arbitral award, has reaffirmed Canada's longstanding pro-arbitration stance. The global message from the Supreme Court to arbitration parties across Canada is that if they agree to arbitrate, they should expect to be bound by arbitrators' decisions. In other words, Canadian courts expect parties to respect the process for which they signed up.
A recent Supreme Court decision has clarified that a confidentiality clause in a mediation contract will not restrict a party from producing evidence of communications made in the mediation context in order to prove the terms of the settlement, unless that is the clearly intended effect of the mediation contract.