Supreme Court – guidance for preserving assets in anticipation of execution of award upheld – #246

In the briefest of reasons, a 6:1 majority of the Supreme Court of Canada in International Air Transport Association v. Instrubel, N.V., 2019 SCC 61 dismissed the appeal from the Québec Court of Appeal decision in Instrubel v. Republic of Iraq, 2019 QCCA 78. In doing so, it upheld a successful arbitral claimant’s attempt to garnish funds owed by a third party to respondent pending an application to recognize and enforce its award. For more on the issues, see the earlier Arbitration Matters note “Québec – successful arbitral party seizes assets in hands of third party pending homologation of award”.

As you can see from the brief text which follows the summary paragraph, the reasons do qualify as “briefest“.

Writing for the majority, Mr. Chief Justice Richard Wagner wrote that the majority of the Court “is of the opinion to dismiss the appeals with costs throughout, substantially for the reasons of the Court of Appeal save for the matters addressed in obiter.”  Reasons for Madam Justice Suzanne Côté, sole dissenting judge, are to follow.

The Québec Court of Appeal reasons provide meaningful, informed guidance for arbitration practitioners striving to preserve assets in anticipation of executing on successful arbitration awards.

urbitral note – When the reasons for dissent are available, an update will be provided to this note depending on the scope and content of the reasons.

update – The reasons in dissent by Madam Justice Suzanne Côté issued May 1, 2020.