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

The Supreme Court Of Canada Proclaims 10 Rules For The Interpretation Of Contracts And The Review Of Arbitration Awards

The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Sattva Capital Corp. v. Creston Moly Corp. is a remarkable document. It is more than a judicial decision. It is literally a textbook or checklist for the interpretation of contracts and the review of arbitration decisions. Background First, the context. Creston agreed to pay Sattva a finder’s […]

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Can An Arbitrator Decide An Issue Falling Within A Statutory Regime?

The recent decision in Advanced Explorations Inc. v. Storm Capital Corp. dealt with the question of whether an arbitral tribunal has the authority to decide an issue arising out of a statutory regime over which a regulatory tribunal has specific authority. That question is a thorny jurisdiction issue in the law of arbitration. The decision […]

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What Is The Effect Of Res Judicata On Arbitration?

The recent decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court in Boxer Capital Corp. v. JEL Investments Ltd. raises some fascinating issues with respect to the application of the doctrine of res judicata to the arbitration process.  The court effectively held that res judicata applies with all its force and effect to arbitration.  For this reason, […]

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What Authority Does The Court Have To Interfere With Decisions Of Arbitrators?

This article will discuss the attitude of Canadian courts toward reviewing arbitral decisions.  The decisions of Canadian judges reflect the legislative regime in the provincial Arbitration Acts which mandates a starkly different approach toward final arbitral awards as opposed to interlocutory decisions (that is, decisions made by the tribunal during the proceeding, and not the […]

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When Is A Commercial Arbitration Decision Unreasonable?

Canadian courts will generally over-rule a decision of a domestic arbitral tribunal only if the decision is “unreasonable.”  What does this word mean? Is the standard of “unreasonableness” different in a commercial arbitration than, say, in a labour or employment arbitration?  If the arbitral award is found to fall within the bounds of reasonableness by […]

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Is An Agreement To Mediate Enforceable?

A recurring issue in arbitration and construction law is whether an agreement to mediate is enforceable. That is because an arbitration or building contract may contain a clause imposing an obligation to mediate before arbitrating. If the agreement to mediate is enforceable, that likely has certain consequences.  The limitation period is likely not running and […]

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ULCC Working Group Issues Discussion Paper On A New Uniform International Commercial Arbitration Act

In January 2013, a Working Group of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (“ULCC”) issued a Discussion Paper with respect to proposals for a new Uniform International Commercial Arbitration Act. The Discussion Paper is intended to generate consultations by May 2013 and final approval by the ULCC in August 2013. Background to the Discussion Paper […]

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Can An Arbitration Award Be Set Aside For Unreasonableness?

If an arbitration agreement states that there is to be no appeal from the award under the agreement, can a party seek judicial review on the ground that the award is unreasonable?  In Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, [2008] 1 S.C.R. 190, the Supreme Court of Canada set out a comprehensive analysis for the judicial review […]

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Can An Arbitration Survive Fraud?

When material evidence tendered to an arbitral tribunal is fraudulent, we expect the court having jurisdiction to be very inclined to set the award aside.  But as the recent decision of the English High Court in Chantiers de l’Atlantique S.A. v. Gaztransport & Technigaz S.A.S. demonstrates, “it ain’t necessarily so.”  In that case the award […]

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