Québec – No enforcement of award against alter egos – #681

In a much-anticipated decision, the Québec Court of Appeal overturned Justice Pinsonneault’s first instance decision and quashed the seizure before judgment by garnishment taken against a subsidiary and non-party to an arbitration to answer for the debt of the parent pursuant to an arbitral award. Justice Pinsonneault’s decision was discussed in a previous case note concerning CC/Devas (Mauritius) Ltd. v. Republic of India, 2022 QCCS 7. In Air India, Ltd. v. CC/Devas (Mauritius) Ltd., 2022 QCCA 1264, the Court of Appeal unanimously granted the appeal of the parent, ruling that a foreign award cannot be enforced against a third party’s assets unless it is proven: (1) that the third party is the debtor’s alter ego; and (2) that the third party was used in order to conceal fraud, abuse of right or a violation of a public order rule by the debtor. The Court of Appeal ruled that the applicable criteria for the enforcement of a foreign award against the shareholder of a condemned party were the same as the applicable criteria to lift the corporate veil, as codified at section 317 CCQ. Here, those criteria were not met, and the court did not lift the corporate veil.

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Québec – Court dismisses application challenging arbitral tribunal’s joinder of non-signatory – #680

In Newtech Waste Solutions inc. c. Asselin, 2022 QCCS 3537, Justice Bellavance dismissed an application challenging an arbitral tribunal’s jurisdictional decision to join a non-signatory corporation to an arbitration. Justice Bellavance validated the tribunal’s application of jurisprudence on joinder of non-signatories to arbitrations seated in Québec. Although the non-signatory was a stranger to the arbitration agreement, the arbitral tribunal found, and Justice Bellavance agreed, that it was appropriate to join it based on a prima facie showing that the corporation was one of the parties’ alter ego.

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Québec – Fragmentation of shareholders dispute stayed pending appeal on jurisdiction – #678

In Istanboulian v Kalajian, 2022 QCCA 1259, Justice Cournoyer granted leave to appeal from a judgment of the Québec Superior Court, which had referred part of a claim to arbitration. He found that the judgment under appeal caused irremediable injury to the Applicants by possibly preventing them from being heard in the appropriate forum and that it was in the interest of justice to immediately get to the bottom of the jurisdictional issue.

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Québec – No clean hands, no security despite stay of homologation application – #677

In Specter Aviation v United Mining Supply, 2022 QCCS 3643, Justice Castonguay granted a stay of an application by the successful party in a foreign arbitration to homologate the award, but denied the applicants’ alternative request for security, pending the unsuccessful party’s annulment application to the Paris Court of Appeal. Despite recognizing that a court should be reluctant to interfere with a successful party’s enforcement efforts, Justice Castonguay found that the annulment application was, “neither futile nor frivolous” and that the successful party did not have clean hands and had resorted to a self-help remedy. He also ordered costs against the successful party.

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Quebec – The broad powers of an arbitrator as “amiable composer” – #673

In Investissements immobiliers MB inc. c. SMP Direct inc., 2022 QCCS 3315, Justice Godbout affirmed the broad jurisdiction that an arbitrator has to grant remedies in oppression claims, especially when empowered as an ‘amiable composer’. An ‘amiable composer’ may make a binding decision based on equity (rather than law) and without procedural formalities. It is a role that has its roots in civil law (“amiable compositeur”).

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Québec – Solidary liability allegation no bar to referral to arbitration for one defendant – #671

In Nantel v Gonzalez (not reported), Justice Buchholz stayed an action as against one defendant of a group and referred its dispute with the Plaintiffs to arbitration, even though the Plaintiffs alleged solidary (joint) liability as against all Defendants.

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