New Brunswick – When is an appeal not an appeal? – #736

In New Brunswick Highway Corporation v. MRDC Operations Corporation, 2023 NBCA 19, the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick (the “Court”) dismissed the appeal of a decision denying an appeal against an arbitral award. The Court found that the arbitration agreement did not grant the parties an automatic right of appeal, and denied leave to appeal pursuant to section 45 of the Arbitration Act, RSNB 2014, as no extricable questions of law were present.  The Court cautioned against finding extricable errors of law in a case such as this involving contractual interpretation of the arbitration agreement. The decision turned on the interpretation of the arbitration agreement, which provided both for an appeal and for no appeal.

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Québec – Interpretation of two shareholder agreements requires more than a superficial analysis – #725

In Gifran inc. c. 9225-2071 Québec inc., 2023 QCCA 311, the Québec Court of Appeal (the “Court”) recalled the principles governing an exception to the compétence-compétence principle and ordered a stay in favor of arbitration, overturning the Superior Court Judge’s decision. The Court commented on the scope of the exception relating to questions of mixed fact and law that require only superficial consideration of the evidence in the record, in the context of a shareholder dispute. It noted that the Superior Court Judge had not provided reasons as to why the exception applied in this case and found that the exception did not in fact apply, because an in-depth analysis of the respective scopes of two separate shareholder agreements (one with an arbitration clause and one without) was required. The Court also held that the mere presence of related third parties in the dispute was not sufficient to deny the stay application.

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