Friday, October 4, 2013

Arbitrators cannot consider equity unless expressly empowered so to do

British Columbia (Forests) v. Teal Cedar Products Ltd., 2013 SCC 51:

[40]                          Morriss is also inapplicable to the case at bar because it concerned the jurisdiction of a court that was relying on equity to award compound interest. In reaching the conclusion that compound interest could be awarded by the court in that case, the B.C. Court of Appeal relied on the equitable jurisdiction of the court, which permitted the award despite the provisions of theCOIA. The arbitrator in this case did not have jurisdiction to consider equity. Under the CAA, arbitrators can only consider equitable grounds where the parties specifically agree (s. 23). In this case, the agreement between Teal and the Province did not permit the arbitrator to deal with equitable grounds. As a result, the reasoning adopted by the B.C. Court of Appeal in Morriss, whether right or wrong, is not relevant to the resolution of this appeal.

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