Liz’s 2022 Hot Topic: Treatment of arbitration agreements in 2022 – #703

My hot topic for 2022 is the treatment of arbitration agreements by the courts. Frequently, challenges to arbitral jurisdiction and appeals are brought on the basis of the scope and enforceability of an arbitration agreement. A review of a number of cases within the last year indicates a trend that a strongly, and often broadly drafted agreements are frequently the difference between a successful and unsuccessful court challenge. This case note will review a number of notable cases we have seen this past year.

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John’s 2022 Hot Topic: Summary judgment in arbitration – #699

My “hot topic” for 2022 is the Court of Appeal for Ontario’s confirmation that an arbitration can be determined by summary judgment. In Optiva Inc. v. Tbaytel, 2022 ONCA 646, the Court approved proceeding by summary judgment motion where such a motion is consistent with the parties’ arbitration agreement. While the case addressed four grounds of appeal, including whether the arbitrator’s ruling to proceed by summary judgment was a procedural order or a jurisdictional award, the central issue, and my “hot topic,” is whether the arbitrator’s partial award, which decided a summary judgment motion should be set aside. For a summary of the decision, see Case Note – No oral hearing required even if one party requests it #667.

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Marie-Claude’s 2022 Hot Topic: Binding non-signatories – A new trend arising in Québec? – #697

The last year has seen several judgments which bind third parties to arbitration, specifically in Québec. The basic principles remain unchanged: the rule is still that a contract has effect only between the contracting parties (sec. 1440 CCQ). However, there is a trend, which seemed clear starting in 2021 and continues into 2022, to bring non-signatories into arbitration in certain circumstances, as set out in Québec’s recent judgments. Many reasons explain these decisions: let’s explore why this new trend is arising in Québec.

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Lisa’s 2022 Hot Topic #1: Arbitrator resignation – the when, how, and what next? – #696

Although there is provision in most provincial domestic arbitration legislation and the Model Law for the resignation of the arbitrator, there is little guidance on when the arbitrator may do so and the potential consequences once that occurs. However, two cases released in 2022 are helpful in that they suggest: (1) potential limitations on the discretion of an arbitrator to resign, regardless of the rights contained in the legislation; and (2) how the parties many anticipate this issue and provide for it in their arbitration agreement if it is important, so as to minimize the inevitable disruption that arises when an arbitrator resigns.

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