Québec – 10-year limitation for foreign award recognition and enforcement– #644

In Itani v. Société Générale de Banque au Liban SAL, 2022 QCCA 920, the Québec Court of Appeal (Schrager, Moore, and Kalichman JJA) considered the limitation period for recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award rendered outside Québec. The Court applied the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Yugraneft Corp. v. Rexx Management Corp., 2010 SCC 19, confirming that recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award is governed by the rules of procedure applicable in the territory in which the application is made―so it differs from province to province. The Court of Appeal considered the applicable provisions of the Québec Civil Code and ruled that the application to recognize and enforce the arbitral award was subject to a 10-year limitation period, upholding the decision of Justice Poulin at first instance.

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Québec – Winning party advantaged by recourse to arbitration – #640

In Fiducie Groupe Carmen Forino v Fermes v. Forino & Fils inc., 2022 QCCS 2215, Justice Gagnon granted an application to homologate a final award. He found that the Defendants were asking the court to exceed the narrow scope of intervention available in that context and refused to revisit the arbitrator’s determination on the merits, even where the award might be based upon “shaky” legal grounds.

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Québec – Court prevents “improper attempt to circumvent” final ICC award – #634

In Eurobank Ergasias v. Bombardier inc., 2022 QCCA 802, a majority of the Québec Court of Appeal (Mainville and Baudouin, JJ.A.): (1) confirmed the homologation of an ICC Arbitral Tribunal Final Award (“Final Award”); (2) confirmed the trial judge’s decision that a Québec bank did not have to pay under a Letter of Counter-Guarantee that was called upon, the purpose of which was the evasion of the binding ICC arbitration process; and (3) overturned the trial judge’s decision to direct the Hellenic Ministry of National Defence (“HMOD”), a branch of the Greek government,  to comply with the Final Award because HMOD was not an entity domiciled in Québec and homologation is for the purpose of rendering the Final Award legally binding in Québec, not in Greece.

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Québec– Court declines homologation based upon CCAA discretion – #625

In Arrangement relative a Rising Phoenix International Inc., 2022 QCCS 1675, Justice Collier considered the interplay between: (a) the right of the winning party in an arbitration to homologate or enforce an arbitral award in the courts in arbitration legislation; and (b) the stay of proceedings in effect when a corporation is granted creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-36 (“CCAA”). Here, a creditor of the corporation obtained an arbitral award in its favour and applied to have it homologated and enforced as against the directors of the corporation in respect of their personal liability. Justice Collier found that the language of the CCAA and the Amended and Restated Initial Order did not stay proceedings involving a director’s liability for personal wrongdoing, even if those wrongful acts occurred while the person was a director of the company under creditor protection. However, he exercised his broad discretion under the CCAA to make orders that are consistent with the remedial objectives of the Act and extend the stay to third parties. Therefore, he refused the creditor’s application to homologate or enforce the arbitral award as against the directors personally because it would likely negatively affect the CCAA restructuring process.

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Ontario – Dismissal of appeal of order enforcing award as abuse of process – #621

In Ledsham v. Air Canada Pilots Association, 2022 ONSC 1877, a self-represented litigant found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time to appeal an order enforcing an arbitral award. Justice D.L. Corbett of the Ontario Divisional Court summarily dismissed the appeal under rule 2.1.01 of the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure. That Rule provides that the court may, on its own initiative, stay or dismiss a proceeding if it appears on its face to be frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of the process. Despite observing several badges of vexatiousness, Justice Corbett declined to declare the appellant a vexatious litigant. He nevertheless found the appeal before him was frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of process.

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Québec – Annulment: no review of the merits, even if award wrong – #603

In Balabanian v. Paradis, 2022 QCCS 959, Justice Harvie reaffirmed clearly that courts have no jurisdiction to revisit the merits of an arbitral award or the arbitrator’s reasons and assessment of the evidence when a party is seeking homologation or annulment of an arbitral award. This judgment is one of many in a saga involving opposing co-owners regarding the management and maintenance of their property. The co-ownership contract included an arbitration agreement. A group of co-owners alleged a lack of transparency and equity by Balabanian in the management and maintenance of the property. The dispute against Balabanian resulted in two arbitrations and court proceedings, taking place in parallel. Justice Harvie’s decision concerned the second arbitration process. The group of co-owners sought the homologation of the second arbitral award, while Balabanian asked for its annulment. Balabanian contested the award for numerous reasons, including: the arbitrator’s appointment because of his lack of independence and neutrality, the lack of jurisdiction of the arbitrator, the award going beyond the scope of the arbitration agreement, the violation of the fundamental right to be heard and, more generally, the merits of the award itself. Justice Harvie dismissed every argument made by Balabanian against the award, reaffirming the strict scope of analysis of homologation/annulment grounds according to sections 645 and 646 CCP.

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