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

The Supreme Court Of Canada Avoids The Open Windows Issue

In my last article, I dealt with the recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Bhasin v. Hrynew. In that decision, the Supreme Court of Canada established two fundamental principles for the Canadian common law of contract: First, that the parties are under a general obligation to perform contracts in good faith; and […]

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Contracts Must Be Honestly Performed Says The Supreme Court of Canada

In its recent decision in Bhasin v. Hrynew, the Supreme Court of Canada has established two fundamental principles for the Canadian common law of contract. First, parties are under a general obligation to perform contracts in good faith. Second, the parties have a duty to act honestly in the performance of contracts. These contractual obligations can […]

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When Is A Consultant Liable To A Contractor For Subsurface Information In Tender Documents?

One of the difficult issues in construction law is the duty owed, if any, by the owner’s consultant to the contractor. In particular, does the consultant owe any such duty in respect of subsurface conditions? In North Pacific Roadbuilders Ltd. v. Aecom Canada Ltd., the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench recently held that it did. […]

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Ontario Court Of Appeal Holds That The Doctrine Of Mistake Does Not Apply To A Tender

In Asco Construction Ltd. v. Epoxy Solutions Inc., the Ontario Court of Appeal recently held that the doctrine of mistake did not apply to an invitation to tender. In doing so, the court provided a useful reminder of the limited circumstances in which the law of mistake can apply to building contracts. Background Asco was […]

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When May A Mareva Injunction Be Issued To Enforce An International Commercial Arbitration Award?

In Sociedade-de-Fomento Industrial Private Ltd. v. Pakistan Steel Mills Corp. (Private) Ltd, the British Columbia Court of Appeal recently considered the use of a Mareva injunction to enforce an award of an international commercial arbitration. The court over-turned the lower court’s decision which had denied that remedy based upon alleged material non-disclosure. In doing so, […]

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Has The Limitation Period For Constructive Trust Claims Been Thrown Wide Open?

Constructive trust claims are a natural for construction projects. Unpaid subcontractors and suppliers may have improved the land owned by or secured to the owner or mortgagee. But they may have a worthless claim against a bankrupt contractor and may have let the time for filing a construction lien claim pass by. In these circumstances […]

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The Traps And Perils Of Limitation Of Liability Clauses

In Swift v. Eleven Eleven Architecture Inc., the Alberta Court of Appeal recently considered the impact and scope of a limitation of liability clause in a consultant’s contract between an owner and the architects on a building project. The court arrived at three important conclusions. First, the clause did not apply to and did not […]

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The Seven Principles Of Value For Unjust Enrichment

What is something worth? And if it’s worth something to you, is it worth the same to me? Or is everything in the eyes of the beholder? These are tough questions at the best of times. But they are even tougher in the case of a claim for unjust enrichment. In unjust enrichment, value is […]

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Is A Deposit Forfeited In Absence Of Proven Damages?

The forfeiture of a deposit is one of the major tools for ensuring that contracts are performed.  But there is a debate about whether a deposit can be forfeited if the party forfeiting it has suffered no damages, or damages less than the amount of the deposit.  Until recently in British Columbia, there were decisions […]

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