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

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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Does An Informal Agreement To Mediate Stop The Limitation Period From Running?

Mediation seems like apple juice:  no harm in taking it and it might do some good. But mediation has a trap: — the limitation period. If a party enters into mediation and lets the limitation period go by, then that’s real harm. In a number of reported cases, one party to a mediation did exactly […]

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Does The CCDC Dispute Resolution Clause Require Arbitration?

Most building contracts contain dispute resolution clauses which refer to arbitration.  A dispute resolution clause can be mandatory – it can require arbitration – or it can be permissive – it can permit arbitration if all parties agree to arbitration when the dispute arises. One would think that the most important thing to make clear […]

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Is A “May Arbitrate” Clause Mandatory Or Permissive?

What is the meaning of an arbitration clause which states that a dispute “may be determined by arbitration”?   Does the clause mean that the arbitration process is permitted but not mandatory?  Or does the word “may” mean that the parties do not have to have a dispute, but if they do, the arbitration clause applies? […]

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Does Inaction Amount To Acceptance Of A Repudiation Of Contract?

Can inaction by a party to a contract amount to an acceptance of the repudiation of the contract by the other party?  That was the issue in the very recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Brown v. Belleville (City). This is an important issue in construction law because of the critical effect […]

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Does A Mediation Agreement Suspend The Limitation Period Or The Period To Set Down A Lien For Trial?

An agreement to mediate is often found in arbitration and building contracts. Yet, the impact of mediation upon court or arbitral proceedings is uncertain. Does an agreement to mediate mean that, until the mediation occurs, there is no cause of action and therefore there is no entitlement to commence arbitration or an action?  In that […]

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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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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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The Limitation Period Quagmire Between Litigation And Arbitration

The limitation period is a vexing issue to any party involved in a commercial dispute.  This truism applies even more to construction disputes because there are a variety of events that may trigger the beginning of the limitation period.  The limitation issue becomes even more vexing when the proceeding can be either:  by way of […]

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