Court of Appeal Refuses to Exercise Long-Arm Jurisdiction

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Civil Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Of Interest to US Counsel0 Comments

In West Van Inc. v. Daisley,  the Motion Judge found that the claim did not have a “real and substantial connection” to Ontario to give the Ontario Courts jurisdiction.  The Plaintiff, a Canadian company, was suing an American lawyer for work he had done for the Plaintiff company in the U.S.

The Court of Appeal considered whether the Court should exercise jurisdiction under the “forum of necessity” exception; the Ontario Courts may assume jurisdiction over a case which it otherwise would not if there is no other forum where the Plaintiff can “reasonably” sue.

The Plaintiff argued that it could not reasonably sue the American lawyer in North Carolina because it could not find a lawyer to represent it there.  The Plaintiff had called lawyers in two of North Carolina’s largest cities, but none would agree to take the case.  The Court of Appeal was not satisfied that the difficulty in finding a lawyer made it unreasonable to sue in North Carolina, commenting that there are many lawyers available in the “litigation-hungry” United States.  The Court stated that the “forum of necessity” exception will only apply in exceptional circumstances, such as “the breakdown of diplomatic or commercial relations with a foreign State, the need to protect a political refugee, or the existence of a serious physical threat if the debate were to be undertaken before the foreign court.”

Click here to read the complete decision.

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About the Author
Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.

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