Toronto Ontario International Litigation and Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers
Acting for U.S. Clients and with U.S. Counsel | Attorneys in Ontario Litigation
We have strength and experience in advising foreign clients involved in litigation or arbitration in Ontario and across its borders.
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 the US and in Europe and one of our lawyers has acted for clients based in China. 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 consideration 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 lawyers 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 US and in Europe and one of our lawyers has acted for clients based in China, sometimes in proceedings requiring urgent court ordered remediesfor 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 (Including Defendants in other Canadian Provinces)
Often a plaintiff connected to Ontario wishes to commence proceedings in Ontario naming some or all defendant 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.
Due to 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.
We are frequently consulted about the enforcement of money judgments and arbitration awards obtained in jurisdictions other than Ontario. Please see our webpage on the recognition and enforcement of judgments and arbitration awards.
Enforcement of US 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 of the courts in Ontario when asked to recognize a foreign judgment.
We are often consulted by those located in the United States, and in the past have been consulted by or retained in litigation by those (or matters located) in Alaska, California, Washington, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida and Texas.
Internationally, we have also been involved in litigation or arbitration with clients (or matters) located in the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, England, 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.
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.