UNCITRAL International Sale of Goods Convention – New Members in 2016 and 2017

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorCommercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Conventions & Treaties, Counterfeit Goods, Distribution Agreements, Distributors | Dealers, International Sale of Goods, International Traders, Jurisdictional Challenges, Manufacturers | Re-Sellers, Sale of Goods, UNCITRAL0 Comments

The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (“CISG”) establishes a comprehensive code of legal rules governing the formation of contracts for the international sale of goods, the obligations of the buyer and seller in contracts for the international sale of goods, and the remedies for breach of contracts for the international sale of goods. Canada on accession to the CISG declared that, in accordance with article 93 of the Convention, the Convention would extend to Ontario (and other provinces named in the declaration). The Canadian International Sale of Goods Contracts Convention Act, S.C. 1991, c. 13, has been in effect in Ontario since 1992 because of the International Sale of Goods Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. I.10.  These two acts brought into effect in Canada the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. The Ontario International Sale of Goods Act provides that the contracting parties “may … Read More

Greater Harmonization of International Commercial Arbitration Laws

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial List Matters, Cross-Border Litigation, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, International Sale of Goods0 Comments

Legislation based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (1985), with amendments as adopted in 2006 (the “Model Law”) has been adopted in 78 States of a total of 109 jurisdictions, including Canada, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Yukon. The legislation in Ontario, Canada, amends previous legislation based on the Model Law and is based on the text, with amendments as adopted in 2006, of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration. Recent jurisdictions to enact Model Law legislation include: In 2017: Australian Capital Territory, Fiji, Jamaica, Mongolia, Qatar, and South Africa. In 2016: Myanmar, Republic of Korea, and Uganda. The continued expansion of an already substantial number of jurisdictions enacting Model Law legislation means even greater harmonization of national laws through all stages of the commercial arbitration process, from the arbitration agreement itself, to the recognition and … Read More

Court of Appeal Considers Scope of Errors of Jurisdiction under Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Arbitration, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Contract Disputes, Jurisdictional Challenges0 Comments

In Consolidated Contractors Group S.A.L. (Offshore) v. Ambatovy Minerals S.A., 2017 ONCA 939, the respondent was constructing a mine.  The appellant was contracted by the respondent to build a pipeline.  The construction contract contained a three stage dispute resolution process, being: 1) disputes were to be determined by the respondent’s supervising engineer; 2)  if the dispute was not resolved, it would be referred to adjudication by a sole adjudicator; and 3) if a party did not accept the adjudication, it could refer the dispute to arbitration pursuant to the International Commercial Arbitration Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. I.9, which incorporates the Model Law. Problems arose in the project.  The appellant alleged that the respondent had breached the contract.   The appellant sought an extension of the time for performance, compensation for its costs arising from delay, and compensation for additional work.   The appellant submitted its claims to the respondent’s engineer for … Read More

Court of Appeal Considers Law Applicable to Bifurcation of Disputes between Court and Arbitration

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes0 Comments

In Wellman v. TELUS Communications Company, 2017 ONCA 433, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently considered the law applicable to determining whether to bifurcate a dispute between court proceedings and arbitration.   In Wellman v. TELUS, the plaintiffs consisted of consumers and businesses.  The plaintiffs commenced a class action against the defendant, Telus, regarding alleged overbilling.  The Telus contact contained an arbitration clause.  Telus acknowledged that the arbitration clause was not binding on the consumer plaintiffs (due to the Consumer Protection Act, 2002).  But Telus’s position was the the business plaintiffs were bound by the arbitration clause. Telus brought a motion to stay the business plaintiffs’ class action in favour of arbitration.  Telus relied upon, among other things, section 7(5) of the Ontario Arbitration Act, which provides for a partial stay of court proceedings to be granted where an arbitration agreement deals with only some of the matters in respect … Read More

Possible Changes to Choice of Court Agreements and Recognition of Foreign Judgments

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Corporate Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Forum Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel, Offshore0 Comments

Ontario recently enacted the International Choice of Court Agreements Convention Act, 2017, which will give effect to the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (the “Hague Convention”) in Ontario once Canada ratifies the Hague Convention.  (Canada has not yet signed or ratified the Hague Convention.  It is not yet known when Canada will ratify the Hague Convention. The Uniform Law Conference of Canada adopted a model implementation statute in 2010, suggesting that Canada may sign and ratify the Hague Convention.) In preparation for ratification, Ontario businesses should be aware of the Hague Convention’s key features, including: • where parties of member States have expressly agreed to a court in their contract, the court selected by parties must act in every case as long as the choice of court agreement is valid. The agreed Court does not have discretion (on forum non conveniens or other grounds) to decline jurisdiction in favour of courts of another State. • any court … Read More

International Sale of Goods – the Law Applicable in Ontario

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Corporate Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Offshore, Sale of Goods0 Comments

Many Ontario businesses buy and sell goods from foreign companies.  However, few Ontario businesses are aware that different laws apply to international purchases and sales of goods. For purchases and sales of goods between Ontario companies, the Ontario Sale of Goods Act will typically apply.  However, for purchases and sales of goods between Ontario and foreign companies, the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (the “CISG”) will typically apply. The CISG is “Ontario law”.  It is enacted in Ontario by the International Sales Conventions Act. There are a number of key differences between the Ontario Sale of Goods Act and the CISG.  One of the most notable is the obligation on the buyer to inspect goods (article 38) and give notice of any non-conformity (article 39).  The inspection obligation imposed by article 38 can have significant consequences: if the buyer fails to detect a lack of conformity … Read More

Andrew Ottaway comments on International Commercial Arbitration for the Law Times

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Commercial Arbitration, Cross-Border Litigation, Gilbertson Davis LLP News0 Comments

Andrew Ottaway was asked to comment on international commercial arbitration in Ontario, including the new International Commercial Arbitration Act, 2017. Read the Law Times article here: “New laws may spur more arbitration in Ontario“. The lawyers at Gilbertson Davis have experience with domestic and international commercial arbitration.  Please contact us to arrange an initial consultation.

Ontario’s New International Commercial Arbitration Act Now In Force

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Commercial Arbitration, Cross-Border Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

Ontario’s new International Commercial Arbitration Act, 2017 (the “ICAA”) came into force on March 22, 2017. The new ICAA contains a number of changes from its predecessor, including: Adoption of the the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (also known as the “New York Arbitration Convention”).  Essentially, Ontario has confirmed that it will recognize and enforce an arbitral award made in a state which is party to the Convention. Changes to the limitation period in which a proceeding must be commenced to enforce an arbitral award.  Both the ICAA and the Ontario domestic Arbitration Act, 1991 now provide for a 10 year limitation period to commence a proceeding to enforce an arbitration award.  (The ICAA previously provided for a two year limitation period.) Adoption of the 2006 amendments to the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law … Read More

Family Business Dispute, Start Up Company Dispute, and Closely-Held Company Litigation

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorBusiness Litigation, Civil Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Injunction & Specific Performance, Oppression Remedies, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Shareholder Disputes, Start-Up Disputes0 Comments

We have experience acting for, advising and representing those in closely-held company litigation, both arising from family business disputes and from start-up company disputes. Family Business Disputes Many businesses in Canada are family businesses or have evolved from family businesses. Family businesses present many unique challenges as they grow, as key members of the company or partnership leave the family business, or when personal relationships of the key members of the family business change or deteriorate. One of the most common differences between a family business and other established businesses, whether or not a shareholders’ agreement, partnership agreement and other legal documentation was used in the formation of the family business, is the informality in operation of the family business, including the often ignored distinction in fact between employees, shareholders, or partners – since family members take on multiple roles. Please see our webpage on Family and Closely Held Business Disputes. Start Up Company … Read More

Shareholder Disputes, Oppression Remedy, and Directors and Officers Liability

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorBusiness Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Oppression Remedies, Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

Our lawyers have acted in Ontario and other jurisdictions for small and mid-sized Ontario corporations, shareholders, directors, officers, executives and creditors in corporate disputes and shareholder disputes. We have acted in both oppression remedy action and derivative actions. Oppression Remedy The oppression remedy is a mechanism in the Ontario Business Corporations Act and the Canada Business Corporations Act to protect the interests of shareholders and stakeholders in a corporation against wrongful conduct.  Whether the Ontario or Canada Act will apply depends on the jurisdiction in which the corporation was incorporated. The oppression remedy can be used to protect the interests of shareholders, directors, officers or creditors against the acts of other shareholders, the board of directors or other affiliates of the corporation. When any act or omission of the corporation or any of its affiliates effects or threatens to effect a result; the business or affairs of the corporation or any of its affiliates are, … Read More

Partnership Disputes & Joint Venture Litigation

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Civil Litigation, Closely-Held Business Disputes, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Law, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Directors' and Officers' Liability, Family Business Disputes, Joint Venture Disputes, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Shareholder Disputes, Start-Up Disputes0 Comments

Our lawyers have acted in Ontario and other jurisdictions for partners in small and mid-sized partnerships, and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and contractual parties and partners in joint ventures. Partnership Disputes Partnership is a relationship between persons carrying on a business in common with a view to profit, which is not a corporation. It is one of the most commonly used business associations for small and medium-sized business. A partnership can be created at law and the Partnerships Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.5 sets out rules for determining existence of partnership, though commonly the parties enter into a partnership agreement. Joint Venture – Is it a Partnership? Joint ventures are often established to synergize what each member of the joint venture can add to the consortium. Sometimes a joint venture is the structure chosen because those members engaged in the joint venture are located in different jurisdictions. While invariably created by contractual agreement, some … Read More

Court of Appeal Emphasizes Confidence in Fact Finding on the Record for Summary Judgment

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorAppeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Professions, Summary Judgment0 Comments

In Meehan v Good, 2017 ONCA 103, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal of the plaintiffs of the dismissal of their claims by summary judgment against their former lawyer, Mr. Cardill. The motion judge had determined that the subject retainer was only with respect to assessment of the accounts of their earlier former lawyer, Mr. Good, and not any possible negligence action against Mr. Good, and thus there was no genuine issue whether Mr. Cardill owed the plaintiffs a duty of care to advise them about the limitation period in relation to a possible negligence action against Mr. Good. The Court of Appeal held that the motion judge’s analysis focused narrowly on the written retainer agreement, and not, as is required when determining if a lawyer owes a duty of care to a client, examining all the surrounding circumstances that define the lawyer and client relationship, when, as was pleaded here that … Read More

Court of Appeal Upholds Stay Based on Contractual Choice of Forum/Arbitration Clause Against Non-Contracting Parties

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cross-Border Litigation0 Comments

In Novatrax International Inc. v. Hägele Landtechnik GmbH, 2016 ONCA 771, the plaintiff and the defendant Hägele were parties to an Exclusive Sales Agreement (“ESA”).  Hägele terminated the ESA.  The plaintiff sued Hägele, its individual principals and Cleanfix, a North American company related to Hägele. The defendants collectively moved to stay the Plaintiff’s claim, relying on a forum selection clause in the ESA which stated: “The contractual parties agree that German law is binding and to settle any disputes by a binding arbitration through the “Industrie und Handelskammer” (Chamber of Commerce) in Frankfurt.” The motion judge granted the stay, despite the fact that only Hägele, and not the other defendants, was a party to the ESA. The plaintiff appealed on two grounds: that the motion judge erred in i) interpreting the scope of the forum selection clause and ii) staying the action against the defendants who were not party to the … Read More

Toronto Lawyers for Victims of Investment Fraud: When Investing in a Toronto Business Goes Bad

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorAppeals, Appellate Advocacy, Broker and Agent Claims, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Fraud, Fraud Recovery, Injunction & Specific Performance, Investment Fraud, Summary Judgment0 Comments

A bad investment may not be the result of market fluctuations. A false representation inducing and leading to an investment loss may be actionable at law. Often there is a promised  high-yield on an investment in a company, project or property.  Sometimes a loss occurs from a scheme where there is no intention by those entrusted with an investment to make the promised purchase or transfer. In Ontario, civil lawsuits for the victims of investment fraud have often been framed as claims for deceit, fraudulent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy,  breach of contract, unjust enrichment and restitution. Increasingly though, plaintiffs in lawsuits simply claim damages for losses arising directly from the tort of civil fraud. The leading case on civil fraud in Canada is the Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2014 in Hryniak v. Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7, and in that case civil fraud is defined this way “… the tort of … Read More

Business Dirty Tricks: Unfair Competition: Intentional Interference, Inducing Breach of Contract, Conspiracy and Defamation

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorAppropriation of Personality, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Law, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cross-Border Litigation, Cyber Risks, Fraud, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Of Interest to US Counsel, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes, Passing Off, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

Sometimes businesses and their stakeholders act wrongfully in seeking to advance their interests and / or harm competitors. There are often reports of the “dirty tricks” used by those in business to seek to destroy, defeat or diminish the effectiveness of a competitor. These are often unethical tactics, but sometimes such conduct is also wrongful and has been recognized by the common law as actionable in the courts for damages or injunctive or other urgent equitable relief, or prohibited by a statute which provides for a civil monetary remedy or grounds for an injunction. These causes of action have been recognized and provide the basis of lawsuits for harm, loss and damage, and in suitable circumstances, grounds for an immediate injunction or mandatory order prohibiting the further commission of the wrongful acts. In short, wrongful intentional acts causing harm, loss or damage to businesses or their stakeholders may give rise to a cause of action in common law business torts (the so-called … Read More

Court Stays Arbitration but Denies Costs to Successful Party for “Blameworthy Conduct”

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

In Gorman v Kosowan, 2016 ONSC 5085, the applicant commenced a proceeding regarding a business dispute. The applicant and individual respondent were joint owners of a transportation and warehouse business.  A dispute arose between them.   The respondents subsequently terminated the applicant’s employment and excluded him from the business.  The applicant sought relief from the allegedly oppressive conduct under the Canada Business Corporations Act and the Ontario Business Corporations Act.  The respondents brought a motion to stay the oppression application based on an arbitration clause in the parties’ Unanimous Shareholders’ Agreement (“USA”). The USA arbitration clause required arbitration for “disputes under” the USA. The Judge found that the applicant’s claims were covered by the arbitration clause and granted the respondents’ motion to stay the application. In the Judge’s subsequent costs decision, here, the Judge denied the respondents’ request for costs of the motion.  While a winning party is typically entitled to its costs … Read More

Joint Venture Disputes and International Joint Venture Arbitration

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Commercial Arbitration, Contract Disputes, Cross-Border Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, International Distribution, International Joint Venture, International Sale of Goods, International Traders, Joint Venture Disputes, Jurisdictional Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel, Partnership Dispute, Partnerships and Shareholder Disputes0 Comments

Joint ventures are often established to synergize what each member of the joint venture can add to the consortium. Sometimes a joint venture is the structure chosen because those members engaged in the joint venture are located in different jurisdictions, a consideration which may be pivotal for its success. While invariably created by contractual agreement, some joint ventures have been held by the courts to be a partnership, while others have been determined to be merely contractual, without comprising a partnership. A myriad of considerations have been used by the courts in determining whether a joint venture is a partnership. Issues have also arisen concerning the management and operational structure of a joint venture and whether such structure necessarily results in the joint venture being found to comprise a partnership. Historically the distinction between partner and contractor has been important, since the law only imposed a fiduciary duty upon partners, and not … Read More