Big Suits: SCC Releases Private International Law Decisions

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Canada released its long-awaited decision in Club Resorts Ltd. v. Van Breda, and the companion decisions Éditions Écosociété Inc. v. Banro Corp. and Breeden v. Black. The Van Breda decision reformulates the “real and substantial connection” test, establishing a framework for the analysis of jurisdiction issues in civil cases, explains Ira Nishisato, who leads the national commercial litigation group for Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

While the question of what degree of connection is required for a ‘real and substantial connection’ is still subject to debate, the number of presumptive categories has been reduced and the Court has cautioned against an overbroad interpretation of categories such as ‘carrying on business’ in the jurisdiction. This is of real significance to foreign businesses, he says.

Of primary significance to Robert Centa of Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP is the victory for his client, Morgan Van Breda – who was catastrophically injured at a resort in Cuba in 2003 – as she will now be able to pursue her claims in the courts of Ontario. However, more broadly,

The case makes an important contribution to the development of a challenging area of private international law, he says.

The Globe and Mail reports that Conrad Black is “delighted” with the ruling in Breeden v. Black, which concerns the ability of the courts to assume jurisdiction in defamation actions.

In 2010, Lexpert featured a description of the Ontario Court of Appeal decision on Van Breda and Charron (both cases involve accidents suffered by Ontario residents at two different resorts in Cuba) in the Big Suits section.

– Gena Smith

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