Québec – Intervention by appointing authority not permitted on challenge to decision – #613

In Mullen v. Nakisa inc., 2022 QCCS 1164, Justice Lacoste rejected a request that the Canadian Commercial Arbitration Centre (the “CCAC”), an appointing institution, be permitted to intervene in an appeal of a decision by an arbitrator appointed by it. Applying the higher threshold for interventions in private litigation, Justice Lacoste held that there was no reason to permit the CCAC to intervene as it would not add any substance to the arguments on appeal.

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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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Québec – Delay in raising arbitration provision fatal to application to amend class – #595

In 9238-0831 Québec inc. v Télébec and Vidéotron senc, 2022 QCCS 183 Justice Lussier dismissed defendant Vidéotron’s request to modify the definition of the plaintiff group in a class action to exclude customers who had signed a contract containing an arbitration clause. Vidéotron changed the relevant contracts to add the arbitration clause after the plaintiff’s application to authorize institution of the class action but before that application was decided. However, its application to modify the plaintiff group was brought outside of 45 days from the originating application in the litigation, as required by article 622 of the Code of Civil Procedure, CQLR c C-25.01. Vidéotron had participated in the judicial process for years before bringing its application and offered no explanation for its delay.

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Québec – Merchants reselling tickets not bound by arbitration agreement – #590

In Abihsira v. Ticketmaster Canada, 2022 QCCS 164, Justice Gagnon granted authorization to institute a class action against Ticketmaster Canada (“Ticketmaster”) on behalf of consumers and non-consumers, despite an arbitration agreement between the parties. Relying on public order provisions that extend the benefits of the Consumer Protection Act, CQLR c P-40.1 (“CPA”) to merchants selling or re-selling tickets, he found that the jurisdiction of the Superior Court could not be ousted by the arbitration agreement.

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Québec – Statutory tribunal chair disqualified for bias for comments made in presence of witness during hearing break – #582

In Terrebonne Police Brotherhood Inc. v Truchon, 2022 QCCS 34, Justice Poulin granted, in part, the plaintiff union’s application for judicial review of a decision rendered by a three-person statutory tribunal. The tribunal had dismissed the union’s motion for an order disqualifying the entire tribunal based upon comments made by the chair, which were overheard by a witness and an observer during a break in the hearing. Justice Poulin set aside the tribunal’s ruling and found that those comments demonstrated both a lack of impartiality and a lack of open mind on the part of the chair, which warranted his disqualification. However, the other two members of the panel were not disqualified, even though they contributed to the unanimous decision dismissing the union’s motion. The chair’s comments could not be imputed to them.

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Québec – Enforcement of foreign award against alter egos – #578

In CC/Devas (Mauritius) Ltd. v. Republic of India, 2022 QCCS 7, Justice Pinsonnault was seized with several questions with respect to two seizures before judgment by garnishment, which were authorized within the context of an application for recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards rendered outside of Québec. What makes this situation of interest is the fact that the seizures before judgment involved assets (money) owned by third parties who were not defendants to the arbitration or named in the awards for which recognition is sought (still pending). They are not implicated at all in the facts alleged in the dispute leading to these awards and they are not targeted in the awards either. Nonetheless, Justice Pinsonnault concluded that the allegations against these third-party corporations (fully owned by the respondent, Republic of India) were sufficient to cause him to confirm the seizure against one of them, although with a revised scope. The seizure against the other corporation was dismissed for other reasons related to the State Immunity Act. The application for recognition and enforcement of the awards remains pending.

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