Acting for U.K. Clients and with U.K. Solicitors in Ontario Canada Litigation

Toronto Canada Cross-Border and International Litigation Lawyers

We have strength and experience in advising U.K. clients involved in litigation or arbitration in Ontario and across its borders.

We have acted for clients in a wide variety of industries, in diverse litigation and commercial arbitration practice areas, including insurance, reinsurance, marine, partnership disputes, shareholders’ disputes, international trade, international sale of goods, product liability, distribution and licensing, recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and commercial arbitration awards, and for the victims of investment fraud.

Our lawyers have appeared in all levels of courts in Ontario and Canada, including the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. We have acted in leading cases involving, summary judgment, urgent injunctions and other equitable remedies.

Cross-Border Civil and Commercial Litigation

Sued in Ontario?

We have considerable experience acting for clients outside Ontario in legal proceedings commenced  in Ontario. Some of our lawyers have acted for clients based in Europe.  We can provide prompt legal advice whether the courts in Ontario have, and will continue to exercise, jurisdiction over you, or your business, in the proceedings in Ontario.  You will require early considered Ontario legal advice whether or not to challenge the jurisdiction of the courts over legal proceedings commenced in Ontario involving you or your business, a foreign (to Ontario) defendant.

It may be very dangerous to ignore Ontario legal proceedings, since they will proceed in your absence if ignored and a judgment given in default may be enforceable in your jurisdiction.  On the other hand, taking steps in the Ontario action may result in your attornment to the proceedings through your acceptance of the jurisdiction of the Ontario court. These considerations will require the advice of Ontario lawyers immediately upon being served with the legal proceedings.

Suing a Defendant Located in Ontario (Lawsuit in Ontario)

You may be advised by your local solicitors to sue a defendant in Ontario, rather than in your local jurisdiction. There may be a number of reasons for this; you may have agreed Ontario as the forum for the dispute, the assets of the defendant may be located in Ontario, or there may be other concerns about the applicable law or enforceability of a judgment from your local jurisdiction.  We can advise you on the proper law of the contract or other cause of action, jurisdictional matters, and if necessary coordinate the suit with your local lawyers.

Some of our lawyers have experience acting for clients located in Europe, sometimes in proceedings requiring urgent court ordered remedies for the recovery or preservation of assets.  We have acted in large and often complex debt recovery for foreign clients.

Serving a Defendant Located in Ontario (Lawsuit not in Ontario) and Collecting Evidence in Ontario

We can assist your local counsel in your local litigation with matters including, valid service on the Defendant located in Ontario, examination and other court proceedings for the collection of evidence in Ontario (in-coming letters of request or letters rogatory), opinions on the laws of Ontario and Canada, as may be required, and the enforcement of a foreign judgment in Ontario.

Suing Foreign Defendants in Ontario Courts

Often a plaintiff connected to Ontario wishes to commence proceedings in Ontario naming some or all defendants who are located in a foreign jurisdiction, outside the province of Ontario. 

Recent decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada have clarified the test that the courts must use to determine if there exists the necessary “real and substantial connection” between the jurisdiction and the subject litigation. These cases set out that the onus in such cases is upon the plaintiff to establish the defined (though not comprehensive) presumptively connecting factors, after which the onus shifts to the defendants to rebut the strength of the connections. If the court does find it has jurisdiction, the defendants may then seek to persuade the court it should not exercise that jurisdiction, because on application of the doctrine of forum non conveniens, there is elsewhere a clearly more convenient forum.

Whether plaintiff or foreign defendant in such a case, you require the consideration of a lawyer experienced in matters concerning the jurisdiction of the court and the factors considered on a jurisdictional challenge.

Multi-Jurisdiction Civil Legal Proceedings

Sometimes clients find that they are involved in multiple proceedings in different jurisdictions involving the same subject matter. Other times one party may seek arbitration and the other prefers legal court proceedings. This will require early legal advice of lawyers competent to advise in each jurisdiction. While we have lawyers who have practiced law in other jurisdictions, we practice and advise only on the laws of Ontario, and Canada.

Working with lawyers in your jurisdiction the most appropriate jurisdiction for the dispute and considerations concerning the enforceability of a judgment can be determined.

International Arbitration

With the growth of international commercial activity many disputes are now referred to international arbitration. Early advice about the forum, proper law and location of the arbitration is required.  Early review of the notice of arbitration is required to ensure that the disputes or claims are properly referred to arbitration.  Assistance with the challenge or appointment of an arbitrator may be required at an early stage.

Through the adoption of international conventions on the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, the enforceability of a foreign arbitration award has become easier in many instances.

Enforcement of U.K. Judgments and Arbitration Awards in Ontario, Canada

We are frequently consulted about the enforcement of money judgments and arbitration awards obtained in jurisdictions other than Ontario.

Enforcing U.K. Judgments

Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments (U.K.) Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. R.6

By enactment of the Convention Between Canada And The United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland Providing For The Reciprocal Recognition And Enforcement Of Judgments In Civil And Commercial Matters in the Reciprocal Enforcement of Judgments (U.K.) Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. R.6, a judgment creditor having obtained a judgment in the U.K. may apply to at any time within six years after the date of the judgment, to have the judgment registered in Ontario – and on registration, the judgment has the same force and effect as if it had been a judgment originally obtained or entered in the Ontario court.

Enforcing U.K. | International Arbitration Awards

Canada acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards in 1986 (the “UNCITRAL Model Law”) declaring that it would apply the Convention only to differences arising out of legal relationships, whether contractual or not, that were considered commercial under the laws of Canada, except in the case of the Province of Quebec where the law did not provide for such limitation.

In Ontario, if the International Commercial Arbitration Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. I.9 applies, then it provides that the UNCITRAL Model Law (and the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards as is contained in the UNCITRAL Model Law) is the law of Ontario.  Article 35 of the UNCITRAL Model Law requires the recognition and enforcement of the award, subject to the exceptions described in Article 36.  We may also, if necessary, consider the applicability of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

Enforcement of UK Injunctions, Equitable Orders and Non-Monetary Judgments in Ontario, Canada

The Courts in Ontario may in the required circumstances recognize and enforce foreign equitable orders such as foreign injunctions (not just foreign money judgments).

The following factors are considered in determining recognition and enforceability of a foreign injunction: (a) are the terms of the order clear and specific enough to ensure that the defendant will know what is expected ; (b) is the order limited in its scope and did the originating court retain the power to issue further orders; (c) is the enforcement the least burdensome remedy for the Canadian justice system; (d) is the Canadian litigant exposed to unforeseen obligations; (e) are any third parties affected by the order; and (f) will the use of judicial resources be consistent with what would be allowed for domestic litigants.

Such factors are in addition to the usual considerations reviewed by courts in Ontario when asked to recognize a foreign judgment.

International Experience | Local Counsel

We have strength and experience in advising foreign clients involved in litigation or arbitration in Ontario and across its borders..

We are often consulted by those located abroad, and in the past have been consulted by or retained in litigation by those (or matters located) in England, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Monaco, Guyana, Liberia, South Africa, Angola, The Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Kuwait, India, Bangladesh, South Korea, Hong Kong, PRC and Australia.   Some of our lawyers have been admitted and practised law in foreign jurisdictions (including England, Bermuda and New York), have both foreign and local legal education, including in the U.S. and U.K.

International Contact

Some of our lawyers have been admitted and practiced law in foreign jurisdictions, have both foreign and local legal education, and a number of our lawyers and law clerks speak languages including French, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, Russian and Cantonese.

Please contact us for an initial consultation.

Please note that our website content is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or relied upon to provide legal advice. If you require legal advice, please contact us on our main switchboard on (416) 979-2020 to arrange an initial consultation.

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Our Lawyers


John L. Davis

B.A. (Hons.), J.D.
Managing Partner

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R. Lee Akazaki

C.S., B.A. (Hons.), J.D.
Partner
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David Alderson

LL.B , LL.M
Senior Counsel – Commercial Litigation
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