Friday, September 4, 2015

Enforcement of foreign judgments

Chevron Corp. v. Yaiguaje 2015 SCC 42 holds, perhaps surprisingly:

[27]                          I agree with the Ontario Court of Appeal and the motion judge that the approach favoured by Chevron is sound neither in law nor in policy.  Canadian courts, like many others, have adopted a generous and liberal approach to the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.  To recognize and enforce such a judgment, the only prerequisite is that the foreign court had a real and substantial connection with the litigants or with the subject matter of the dispute, or that the traditional bases of jurisdiction were satisfied.  It is true that in any case in which a Canadian court exercises authority over a party, some basis must exist for its doing so.  It does not follow, however, that jurisdiction is and can only be established using the real and substantial connection test, whether that test is satisfied by the existence of assets alone or on another basis.  In actions to recognize and enforce foreign judgments within the limits of the province, it is the act of service on the basis of a foreign judgment that grants an Ontario court jurisdiction over the defendant.  I arrive at this conclusion for several reasons.  First, this Court has rightly never imposed a requirement to prove a real and substantial connection between the defendant or the dispute and the province in actions to recognize and enforce foreign judgments.  Second, the distinct principles that underlie actions for recognition and enforcement as opposed to actions at first instance support this position.  Third, the experiences of other jurisdictions, convincing academic commentary, and the fact that comparable statutory provisions exist in provincial legislation reinforce this approach.  Finally, practical considerations militate against adopting Chevron's submission. 

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