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 Competence-Competence Apply To Domestic Arbitration?

Competence-competence is a central principle of international commercial arbitration: the tribunal has the competence to decide its own jurisdiction. This principle is embedded in Article 16 of the UNCITRAL Model Law. For this reason, a court will await the arbitral tribunal’s decision on its own jurisdiction before undertaking a review of that issue, unless the […]

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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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Can An Entire Agreements Clause Make A Party To An Agreement Also A Party To Another Agreement?

In construction projects, there will often be several agreements between the various participants. Those agreements may contain “entire agreement” clauses to ensure that the parties are bound only by the terms of the agreement they sign. But could the entire agreement clause have the opposite effect if it refers to one of the other agreements? […]

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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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Does Posting A Lien Bond Eliminate A Contractor’s Trust Fund Obligations?

When a contractor posts a bond to secure the construction builder’s lien claim of its subcontractor and the subcontractor discharges its lien, does the contractor continue to have any trust fund responsibilities to the subcontractor? Must the contractor continue to pay to the subcontractor the money it receives from the owner, particularly money received from […]

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Alberta Court Of Appeal Upholds The Dismissal Of A Claim Which Ought To Have Been Arbitrated

One challenge facing a party to an arbitration clause is preserving a claim against the running of the limitation period. Starting the wrong claim may mean that the claim will be dismissed. That is now apparent from the recent decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in A.G. Clark Holdings Ltd. v. HOOPP Realty Inc.. […]

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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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Is Loss Due To An Inevitable Event Covered By Property Damage Insurance?

A continuing issue relating to property damage insurance is whether loss which is bound to occur due to an unknown fault or defect in the structure is covered by the insurance policy. The policy may be a builders’ risk insurance policy maintained during a building project or an all-risk insurance policy maintained by a business. […]

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