Thomas G. Heintzman, O.C., Q.C., FCIArb

Can An Arbitral Tribunal Summons The Decision-Makers Of A Public Authority?

When a contract dispute between a public authority and a private party proceeds to arbitration, can the private party inquire into the process or reasoning that led to public authority’s decision in question? For instance, if the public authority decides to terminate a construction contract, or to award a tender to one bidder, can an […]

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An Opt-In “May Arbitrate” Clause Is Enforceable, But Only If Triggered: Privy Council

One of the ongoing issues in Canadian arbitration law is whether an “opt in” arbitration clause is enforceable as a mandatory submission to arbitration. Under such a clause, one party “may” serve a notice of arbitration, and if that party does so, then arbitration shall ensue. Some Canadian court decisions, particularly older ones, held that […]

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Alberta Court Issues Wide-Ranging Judgment on Settlement and Mediation of Arbitrations

In Pinder v. Woodrow, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recently issued a judgment addressing a number of arbitration and mediation issues. The judgment arose from a settlement that in turn arose from a mediation conducted during the course of the arbitral hearing. As a result, the court dealt with a number of issues that […]

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The Supreme Court Of Canada Proclaims 10 Rules For The Interpretation Of Contracts And The Review Of Arbitration Awards

The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Sattva Capital Corp. v. Creston Moly Corp. is a remarkable document. It is more than a judicial decision. It is literally a textbook or checklist for the interpretation of contracts and the review of arbitration decisions. Background First, the context. Creston agreed to pay Sattva a finder’s […]

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English Courts Enforce An Obligation To Mediate And Negotiate

The articles on this site have often alerted the readers to the hidden dangers of mediation and negotiation clauses in construction contracts. The principle danger is that these sorts of clauses may be unenforceable, for two reasons. The wording of the particular clause may be drafted in such a way as to create no enforceable […]

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Can An Entire Agreements Clause Make A Party To An Agreement Also A Party To Another Agreement?

In construction projects, there will often be several agreements between the various participants. Those agreements may contain “entire agreement” clauses to ensure that the parties are bound only by the terms of the agreement they sign. But could the entire agreement clause have the opposite effect if it refers to one of the other agreements? […]

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What Authority Does The Court Have To Interfere With Decisions Of Arbitrators?

This article will discuss the attitude of Canadian courts toward reviewing arbitral decisions.  The decisions of Canadian judges reflect the legislative regime in the provincial Arbitration Acts which mandates a starkly different approach toward final arbitral awards as opposed to interlocutory decisions (that is, decisions made by the tribunal during the proceeding, and not the […]

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When Is An International Arbitration Award Enforceable Against A Non-Signatory To The Arbitration Agreement?

An important issue relating to enforcement of an arbitral award is whether the award can be enforced against a party who did not sign the arbitration agreement. If the arbitral tribunal sitting outside Canada finds that party to be a party to the arbitration agreement, even if that person did not sign the agreement, what […]

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Does The CCDC Dispute Resolution Clause Require Arbitration?

Most building contracts contain dispute resolution clauses which refer to arbitration.  A dispute resolution clause can be mandatory – it can require arbitration – or it can be permissive – it can permit arbitration if all parties agree to arbitration when the dispute arises. One would think that the most important thing to make clear […]

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May An Order Dismissing A Stay Motion Be Appealed?

In Canada, there has been a controversy about appeals from stay motion decisions in the context of arbitration clauses.  The issue is whether a decision of a motion judge denying the stay of an action, when the moving party relies on an arbitration agreement, may be appealed to the Court of Appeal. The controversy arises […]

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