Aircraft seizures tend to come up at the enforcement stage, oftentimes in relation to investment arbitration awards (see, e.g., proceedings against Tanzania or Equatorial Guinea). In Specter Aviation v. Laprade, however, the seizure of the Beechcraft Super King Air 300 (the “Aircraft”) is what triggered proceedings before the courts of the Canadian province of Québec,…

A dual webinar series “Do You Know What Your Neighbour is Doing?” (available at links here and here) recently hosted by Dentons provided an overview of how to navigate international arbitration in the United States (“US”) and Canada. The first webinar was moderated by Rachel Howie, FCIArb (Calgary). It featured three panelists who discussed international…

Environmental concerns now play an increasing role in investment disputes. In this regard, this post analyses the interpretation of an environmental carve-out in an investment treaty in the decision on jurisdiction and liability in Eco Oro Minerals Corp. (“Eco Oro”) v. Colombia.   Background and Award This dispute arose from Colombia’s measures adopted in connection…

Established in 1986, the Vancouver International Arbitration Centre (“VanIAC”, formerly known as the British Columbia International Commercial Arbitration Centre) is an organization committed to offering additional dispute resolution paths, providing services to individuals and businesses who wish to resolve conflicts through mediation and arbitration.  Barry Penner Q.C. serves as VanIAC’s Managing Director. Mr. Penner, thank…

Canadian courts are frequently asked to rule upon the effects of arbitration agreements in the context of potential class actions. For example, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) has upheld arbitration clauses for most, if not all issues, disallowing class action recourse in Dell Computer Corp. v. Union des consommateurs(2007), Rogers Wireless Inc. v. Muroff…

In the legal world, countless hours are spent choosing, weighing and defining words, expressions and phrases, and linguistic precision is instilled as a virtue from the first day of law school. It is therefore rather concerning when courts use both inaccurate and inapt language to address a specific issue, such as when Canadian courts consider…

British Columbia (“BC”) was the first Canadian jurisdiction to introduce modern arbitration legislation based on international standards in the UNCITRAL Model Law in 1986. Despite being an early leader in arbitration in Canada, BC did not update its domestic legislation for over two decades, which caused some increasing discrepancies between BC’s arbitration legislation, the UNCITRAL…

As part of Canadian Arbitration Week, the 2021 ICC Canada Conference, titled Leaning into the Future, was designed to facilitate critical thinking and debate on several important topics in international arbitration. The focus of the conference was decidedly post-pandemic, exploring fault lines and cleavages in the system of international arbitration as we know it today,…

Just about everyone in the legal profession has made a small mathematical error in front of others and quipped, “well, that’s why I went to law school”. Clients hire lawyers for our legal reasoning, not for our abilities in arithmetic. For this reason, supplementing skilled legal analysis with input from industry and quantum experts is…

Canadian Arbitration Week ran online from September 20 – 24, 2021 under the theme of adaptation and acceleration.  A timely focus as the pandemic continues to accelerate sweeping changes in the legal world. The 2021 YCAP Fall Symposium titled “New World, New Rules” took place on September 23 and addressed the theme in a session…

The COVID-19 pandemic has normalized virtual hearings. According to the Ontario Superior Court, this has made the doctrine of forum non conveniens obsolete. In Kore Meals LLC v Freshii Development LLC, 2021 ONSC 2896, in the context of an application to stay Canadian court proceedings in favour of arbitration in the U.S., the Ontario Superior Court…

Much ink has been spilled on the 2014 Yukos arbitral awards, and rightfully so. They are notorious for collectively breaking the previous record for the largest arbitral award in history. Their magnitude (these were, in the tribunal’s words, “mammoth arbitrations”) also commands our attention, as do the issues at stake and the multiple companion arbitrations…

The story of counsel ethics in international arbitration is very much like Cinderella’s fairytale. Once the clock struck midnight, all that remained was her glass slipper. This left the prince to search the kingdom for a maiden with the perfect fit for a “happily ever after”. Counsel ethics in international arbitration similarly involve an ongoing…

The approach historically taken by Canadian courts to playing the role of guardian with respect to domestic commercial arbitration has sometimes been both confused and confusing, a situation only cofounded by recent Supreme Court of Canada (“Supreme Court”) jurisprudence. With the release of Sattva in 2014 and Teal Cedar in 2017 , the Supreme Court…

On May 13, 2021, after several years of public consultations, Global Affairs Canada released a new Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement Model (“2021 Model”). The prior iteration of the FIPA Model was broadly understood to have been influenced by Canada’s experience under the NAFTA regime. Similarly, the 2021 Model benefits from Canada’s continued trade…

Most individuals with involvement in international arbitration—as a scholar, practitioner, arbitrator, or as a brave student participating in a moot competition—have cited Gary Born for some legal principle. Indeed, sometimes this name is cited by opposing sides in support of their contrary legal arguments. While this has been a common practice among students and, in…

From practically the moment the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) decision in Uber Technologies v Heller was released, commercial arbitration practitioners and scholars—including on this blog—have criticized it for weakening the cherished competence-competence principle. We submit that those who defend Uber’s problematic arbitration clause in the name of protecting competence-competence love arbitration not wisely, but…

With a feature presentation on “Major Milestones in Canadian Arbitration Law”, the Canadian Journal of Commercial Arbitration launched last week before an online audience of several hundred arbitration practitioners, scholars, and students from around the world. “Our aspiration for the Journal is to contribute materially to bringing together, and strengthening the professional bond, among all…

On June 26, 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) released a decision with significant implications for international businesses by placing significant limits on the application of arbitration clauses.   Background The case, Uber Technologies Inc. v Heller (2020 SCC 16 ) (“Heller”), involved a challenge to Uber’s standard agreement with drivers requiring disputes to…

Amid global economic uncertainty, the years-long project of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”) (also known as “the new-NAFTA” or “NAFTA 2.0”) has finally reached fruition. On March 13, 2020, Canada became the final North American party to ratify the agreement and now the treaty will enter into force on July 1, 2020. Kluwer Arbitration Blog has…

On July 1, 2020, the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) will enter into force. Although the media widely refers to the treaty by its American name, USMCA, it also carries two other names: Canada has adopted it as the Canada – United States – Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), while Mexico has settled on…

The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov, 2019 SCC 65 potentially poses an inadvertent, yet serious, threat to judicial deference to domestic commercial arbitration in Canada. Until Vavilov, courts hearing appeals on questions of law from arbitral tribunals applied the deferential “reasonableness” standard of review. Vavilov…

Introduction The United States, Mexico, and Canada renegotiated the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 2018. As a result of these renegotiations, the parties agreed on new terms to formulate “NAFTA 2.0” or the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in the United States, the CUSMA in Canada and, the T-MEC in Mexico. The USMCA aims…

Introduction The World Trade Organization (the “WTO”) is at an inflection point. As global dynamics shift, members must consider whether the institution, as it is currently configured, has passed its prime. The success of the WTO to date epitomizes the pinnacle of an apparent ideological consensus. However, the current recession of that consensus is forcing…