Thomas G. Heintzman, O.C., Q.C., FCIArb

Can Someone Be Compelled To Arbitrate By Estoppel?

Can the conduct of the parties after they have signed a commercial contract influence the interpretation of the arbitration agreement contained in that contract? If they take one position during the performance of the contract with respect to whether a dispute is arbitrable, can they be estopped from asserting to the contrary when a dispute […]

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When Does An Arbitral Limitation Period Commence?

An arbitration is usually considered to be a less formal type of dispute resolution than court litigation.  For this reason it may be thought that less formal rules about limitation periods apply to arbitrations.  If you had this impression, then the recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Penn-Co Construction Canada (2003) Ltd. […]

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Is The Owner Liable For Delaying The Commencement Of The Building Project?

Time is money on a building project. And the obligation of the owner and the contractor to proceed expeditiously with the project may be one of the most important aspects of their relationship. But what if the owner delays in notifying the contractor of the award, or in signing the building contract?  Can the owner […]

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When Is The Main Building Contract Incorporated By Reference Into The Subcontract?

Most standard form building contracts provide for the incorporation of the main contract into the subcontract.  For instance, GC 3.7.1 of the CCDC 2 Stipulated Price Contract requires the contractor to incorporate the terms of that contract into all agreements with subcontractors and suppliers.  But what effect does an Incorporation by Reference clause in the […]

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An Insurance Clause Does Not Necessarily Bar A Claim By The Owner

When does an insurance clause in a construction contract bar a claim by the owner against the contractor?  Is it barred if the contract requires that the contractor obtain insurance and that the owner is to be named as an additional insured and that subrogation is waived against the owner?  That was the issue in […]

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When Is A Building Contract A Joint Venture?

A difficult issue that may arise between contractors and subcontractors is the nature of their contractual relationship.  Are they:  independent contractors; or partners; or joint venturers; or employees one of the other?   In WCI Waste Conversion Inc. v. ADI International Inc, The Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal recently considered whether a contractor and subcontractor […]

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Remember Rainy Sky: The Commercially Sensible Interpretation Prevails

Every once in a while, an important decision comes along which should be put in your hip pocket so that it can be pulled out when needed.  Rainy Sky S.A. v. Kookmin Bank is such a decision.  In this decision, the U.K. Supreme Court (formerly the House of Lords) recently held that if there is […]

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Should A Court Or An Arbitral Tribunal Resolve Domain Name Disputes?

The Court of Appeal for Ontario has just released its decision in Tucows.Com Co. v. Lojas Renner S.A.  This decision is a legal landmark in relation to Internet domain names. The Court held that domain names are personal property and may be the subject matter of an action which may be served on a defendant […]

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How Does A Court Find And Interpret An Oral Construction Contract

Construction Contract  –  Interpretation – Oral Contract A contract in the construction industry is usually in written form.  Often the contract will follow the CCDC form of contract.  But what principles should apply to the interpretation of oral contracts?  The British Columbia Court of Appeal recently addressed this issue in Copcan Contacting Ltd v. Ashlaur […]

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