Québec – Interests of justice require closely linked disputes to be arbitrated – #664

In Tessier v 2428-8516 Québec inc., 2002 QCCS 3159, Justice Dufresne granted an application for a declinatory exception in respect of  an originating application, and referred two disputes involving ownership of two closely connected companies to arbitration where the shareholders of only one of the two companies involved in the disputes were subject to an arbitration agreement. Justice Dufresne found that the disputes were linked. He relied upon the interests of justice and the principle of proportionality and  found that [informal translation]“rather than depriving the shareholders of the first [company] of the effects of the arbitration clause, the shareholders of the second [company] should be ordered to be subject to it.”

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Québec – Annulment – No review of the merits and no reason to appeal – #658

Balabanyan v. Paradis, 2022 QCCA 877 is, hopefully, the last stage of this arbitration saga, which has come before the Court many times before. In a previous Case Note, Québec – Annulment – No review of the merits, even if award wrong #603, I reviewed how the Court dismissed each and every reason the Appellant raised against the arbitral award made against him. In her decision, Québec Superior Court Justice Harvie reaffirmed 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. She also confirmed the strict scope of analysis of homologation/annulment grounds according to sections 645 and 646 CCP. In an ultimate attempt to annul the award made against him, the Appellant sought leave to appeal Justice Harvie’s decision. Firstly, the Court of Appeal took notice of Justice Harvie’s assessment that the Appellant acted in bad faith in the conduct of his proceedings: by seeking to “wear the opponent out of steam by a maze of procedures and ill-founded arguments”. This increased Appellant’s burden significantly and even more considering the fact that the Appellant’s application was out of time. The Court of Appeal dismissed the leave application because the Plaintiff did not demonstrate any reason to justify his demand.

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Québec – Arbitral award did not “apply” to court proceeding – #657

In Nour v Estephan, 2022 QCCS 2996, Justice Wery dismissed an action brought by the Plaintiff for damages for breach of an agreement with the Defendants, which set out the terms of his departure from their business acting as financial advisors. Confession: this is not an arbitration case, but don’t stop reading because there is an interesting little section on the precedential value in the Québec Superior Court of an arbitral award issued by a retired former justice of the Québec Court of Appeal, acting as arbitrator, in unrelated litigation brought in the courts.

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Québec – Stay of homologation application where parties disagreed on award’s meaning – #656

In Syndicate of co-owners of Quartier Urbain 3 v Habitations Bellagio Inc, 2022 BCCS 2445, the Applicant sought the homologation of an arbitral award dated October 28, 2021, which ordered the Respondent to carry out certain corrective work on the Applicant’s residential building. The parties disagreed upon the meaning of the award. Therefore, Justice Lussier stayed the homologation application for a short time to allow the parties to return to the Arbitrator to try to reach agreement on the meaning of the award. Because the Arbitrator was functus officio (presumably because the parties were too late to seek an interpretation of the award from the Arbitrator), she was not to participate in the meeting as arbitrator.

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Québec – Parallel proceedings insufficient to justify disregard of arbitration agreement – #651

In Travelers Insurance Company of Canada v Greyhound Canada Transportation, 2022 QCCQ 4746, Justice Davignon declined jurisdiction over part of a dispute – the Plaintiffs sued the Defendants for recovery of damages as a result of an explosion on their property; in a separate action, one Defendant sued the other to recover any damages it might be required to pay to the Plaintiffs, relying upon a warranty provision in the Defendants’ agreement (to which the Plaintiffs were not parties). That agreement contained both a forum selection and arbitration clause. Justice Davignon declined jurisdiction over the warranty claim. He was unmoved by the fact that this would result in the dispute being debated in two different forums – the court, in respect of the principal action, and arbitration, as to the warranty claim – and gave full effect to the arbitration clause in the agreement between the Defendants.

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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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