Mazzetta v. Dégust-Mer: Quebec Courts Have Jurisdiction as the CISG Governs the Sales Contract of the Frozen Lobsters – #36

The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) is designed to facilitate international trade and to remove legal barriers among Contracting States by providing substantive rules that regulate the duties and obligations of parties to a commercial transaction, such as the delivery of goods, contract formation, and remedies for breach of contract (See Preamble of the CISG). The CISG applies to contracts of sale of goods between parties whose places of business are in different Contracting States (See Art. 1 (1) (a) of CISG). As of October 2020, 94 states have ratified the CISG (See Updates on CISG). The USA is a signatory of CISG, which has been in effect there since 1986. Canada acceded to the CISG in 1992, and Quebec incorporated it into domestic law through An Act respecting the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, which has been taken into effect since May 1, 1992. In April 2011, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled on the disputes between a Quebec frozen lobster seller, Dégust-Mer, and an American company, Mazzeta, the buyer who had failed to pay for the sale and delivery fees of frozen lobsters (Mazzetta Company, l.l.c. c. Dégust-Mer inc.2011 QCCA 717). This court decision reminds us that the governing law of this international sales of goods contract should be the CISG.

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La Cour se fonde sur la sentence arbitrale rendue après le procès pour déterminer la valeur en litige de la taxation d’un mémoire de frais – #34

Le jugement sur Langlois v. Langlois2020 QCCS 2959 nous enseigne que la « valeur en litige » au sens de l’ancien Tarif des honoraires judiciaires des avocats n’équivaut pas au « valeur du litige » . Il n’est pas nécessaire de trouver la valeur en litige dans les conclusions de la procédure. En effet, la greffière spéciale peut aller consulter « les procédures, les pièces, la sentence arbitrale après le procès etc. » pour déterminer cette valeur.

Les faits pertinents

Depuis 1987, trois générations de Langlois ont créé, établi, développé et investi dans l’entreprise familiale de transformation et de vente de crevettes, Crustacés des Monts inc. (ci-après « CDM »).

Depuis le début de l’année 2011, un conflit éclate entre les membres de la famille Langlois. Les demandeurs, Michel et Yvon, actionnaires minoritaires et administrateurs de CDM sont exclus et écartés de l’administration et de la gestion de CDM. Après avoir offert leurs actions à leurs coactionnaires pour un prix équivalent à leur juste valeur marchande, mais en vain, ils s’adressent à la Cour supérieure en vertu des articles 450 et suivants de la Loi sur les sociétés par actions (ci-après « LSA »), pour obtenir le rachat de leurs actions à leur valeur marchande. Les défendeurs demandent le rejet de toutes les conclusions recherchées dans la demande introductive d’instance.

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Mexico v. Burr: Judicial Review of Ontario Court on Investor-State Arbitration Tribunal’s Partial Award on Applicant’s Jurisdictional Objections – #30

This dispute arose between the United Mexican States and the United States of America nationals. The Respondents alleged that they suffered USD$100 million in damages when the Applicant closed down the casinos the Respondents had been operating in Mexico (The United Mexican States v. Burr, 2020 ONSC 2376). Attempts at settlement failed, the Respondents submitted their claims to arbitration according to Chapter 11 of the North America Free Trade Agreement between the Government of Canada, the Government of Mexico and the Government of the United States (NAFTA). The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) registered the claim to arbitration. Toronto, Canada was determined as the seat of the arbitration. In May 2018, the Tribunal held a five-day hearing on jurisdiction in Washington, DC as the Applicant insisted that the Tribunal did not have jurisdiction on this matter. The Tribunal dismissed all three of the Applicant’s jurisdictional objections in July 2019 ((B-Mex, LLC and Others v. United Mexican StatesICSID Case No. ARB(AF)/16/3)). Consequently, the Applicant brought this applicant to the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario for a declaration that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction or had limited jurisdiction to decide the claims before it.

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Daesung v Praxair: Non-Chinese Institutions Can Administer Arbitrations Seated in China

In August 2020, the Shanghai Court rules that if the parties have chosen a non-Chinese arbitration for an arbitration seated in China, as long as the arbitration agreement complies with other requirements within Article 16 of the PRC Arbitration Law, then the arbitration agreement is valid (Daesung Industrial Gases Co. Ltd. v Praxair (China) Investment Co. Ltd. [2020] Shanghai 01 Civil Special 83).

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Uber v Heller: The Reasoning by the Honorable Madam Justice Côté

Truth be told, I started using UberEats App to order food delivery after the Court of Appeal for Ontario’s decision on the Uber case (Heller v. Uber, 2019 ONCA 1). Although I like cooking very much, I have to admit that UberEats provides efficient food delivery service that allows me to save some time that I should have spent in the kitchen in order to immerse myself in my work and writing when necessary. The day when I downloaded the App to my cellphone as a consumer, I saw the Terms and Conditions that oblige me to refer a dispute to binding individual arbitration. I am conscious of the existence of the Terms and Conditions. And I disagree with it. But I still downloaded it and used this App because a) I was starving; b) I think the arbitration clause won’t apply to me, a Quebec consumer living at Montreal, who is well protected by the Consumer Protection Act, CQLR c P-40.1 (See Art. 11.1).

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Uber v Heller: The Arbitration Clause of Uber’s Services Agreement is Unenforceable and Invalid

Having determined that a court should resolve whether the arbitrator has jurisdiction over the dispute between Heller and Uber, the Supreme Court of Canada found that the Arbitration Clause of Uber’s Services Agreement is invalid. This Arbitration Clause is invalidated because it is considered unconscionable and detrimental to access to justice. Hence, this article discusses the unconscionability issue and the accessibility issue of the Arbitration Clause in Uber’s Services Agreement. 

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Uber v Heller: Only Superficial Review of the Documentary Evidence is Sufficient for the Court to Resolve the Issue of Arbitral Jurisdiction

The Supreme Court of Canada released the judgement on Uber Technologies Inc. v. Heller2020 SCC 16 on June 26, 2020. In an 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court found that the Court has jurisdiction on determining the issue of the arbitrator’s jurisdiction in this case and that the Arbitration Clause between Uber and Heller is invalid. This decision has raised arbitration lawyers’ concerns and discussions these days. The Canadian Journal of Commercial Arbitration and Arbitration Place has organized a Webinar entitled “Uber v. Heller: First Impression” on July 3 at 12PM to discuss on this judgement. Mr. Daniel Urbas has also published a case comment on this judgement (See Supreme Court – courts should not refer jurisdiction challenge to arbitrator if real prospect that challenge might never be resolved)

This article discusses the Supreme Court of Canada’s majority reasoning on whether the Court can decide the challenge of arbitrator’s jurisdiction on the validity of the Arbitration Clause.

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Gormac v Teal Cedar: The Application of the Legal Test Results In Different Outcomes v. The Legal Test Has Been Altered in the course of its Application

Questions of Mixed Fact and Law on Contractual Interpretation: A Preliminary Study of the Supreme Court of British Columbia’s Decision on Gormac Developments Ltd. v. Teal Cedar Products Ltd.2020 BCSC 712 – WriteToLearn Evening Notes

The contractual interpretation is an exercise involving either a question of law or a question of mixed fact and law (para. 45 of Sattva). The questions of mixed fact and law involve aspects of law (para. 45 of Teal Cedarand para. 65 of Richmont Mines). And the Canadian courts may grant leave to appeal if the aspects of law in the contractual interpretation could be extricated from the factual matrix and if the questions of law have the degree of generality or a “great precedential value” (see para. 37 of Southamand Art. 31 (2) Arbitration Act, RSBC 1996, c55). A narrow scope for extricable questions of law is defined by the Canadian courts in order to keep consistent with the key policy objectives of consensual arbitration, namely efficiency and finality.  

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Virtual/Remote Arbitration Hearings Part III Points for Attention during the Virtual Arbitration Hearings

“The turning point in the lives of those who succeed, usually comes at the moment of some crisis, through which they are introduced to their ‘other selves’” – Napolean Hill

Q: During the hearing, can the participants turn on and off their microphones or their cameras randomly?

A: According to the arrangement of the tribunal, the participants could turn on and off their microphones in turns. For some hearings which involve more than 9 participants, the tribunal may consider to discuss with the participants to seek the agreement on turning off the non-speaking participants’ cameras in order to reduce the technical issue and to protect the tribunal’s concentration from unnecessary interruption. On the other hand, the tribunal assistant, the IT consultant and the court reporter may turn off their cameras with the consent of all parties during the hearing.

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Virtual/Remote Arbitration Hearings Part II – Pre-Hearing Preparation for the Virtual Arbitration Hearing

Q: How does the tribunal ensure that all the participants are familiar with the functions of the videoconferencing software?

A: Without a doubt, a great amount of time for preparation is required for virtual arbitral hearing.

First, the tribunal may make procedural orders, upon the agreement of the parties, on the following issues: (a) identifying which issues can be dealt with on “documents only” and which issues must be dealt with on virtual hearing; (b) issues of confidentiality for virtual hearing; (c) requirements of virtual caucus rooms for the tribunal members and each side in the case; (d) the minimum system specifications (such as document display, raise hand, mute, private chat functions etc.) and technical requirements for smooth connectivity, adequate visibility and lighting in each location; (e) the requirements of the equipment, such as computing devices, screens, webcams, headphones, microphones and internet capacity; (f) the preferred videoconferencing platform; (g) a list and the number of authorized participants and their time zones; (h) hearing procedure, especially the recording issue, the issue of witness and expert testimony (See Chandra v. CBC, 2015 ONSC 5385 and 9087-1195 Québec inc. (Développement Olicon) c. Syndicat de copropriété le Vénitien sur Rive2020 QCCS 1458); (i) the retainment of a single tribunal assistant or IT consultant to coach the participants on how to deal with the technical issues before and during the hearing; (j) the contingency measures to be implemented in case of technical failures; (k) timetable of the hearings; (l) how to make and deal with objections during the examination and cross-examination;

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