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

Does The UNCITRAL Model Law Apply To A Claim Under The Consumer Protection ACT?

The Queen’s Bench Court for Saskatchewan recently applied the Saskatchewan International Commercial Arbitration Act (SICAA) and the UNCITRAL Model law annexed to that Act and stayed an action based on the Saskatchewan Consumer Protection Act and a contract which was apparently between two Canadian entities. The decision in Zwack v. Pocha is important for two […]

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Is Certainty An Essential Element Of A Building Contract?

Overview Courts are often unwilling to hold that an agreement is unenforceable for uncertainty when, by all appearances, the parties intended to make a contract.  But in a very spirited and colourful judgment, the Court of Appeal for Alberta has recently weighed in very heavily on the need for certainty in any contract, and particularly […]

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Can Someone Be Compelled To Arbitrate By Estoppel?

Can the conduct of the parties after they have signed a commercial contract influence the interpretation of the arbitration agreement contained in that contract? If they take one position during the performance of the contract with respect to whether a dispute is arbitrable, can they be estopped from asserting to the contrary when a dispute […]

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When Is A Mediation Agreement Enforceable?

One of the most difficult issues in the law of alternative dispute resolution is whether a mediation clause creates an enforceable obligation.  That issue has an impact on related issues and rights.  If a party gets the issue wrong, it may miss a limitation period or affect its right to rely upon an arbitration or […]

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How Many Times Can A Contractor Sue The Owner Under The Same Construction Contract?

Can a contractor bring several claims against the owner arising from the same building contract?  Multiple proceedings arising from the same contract certainly seem like a waste of time and money.  And even if the contractor can do so, can those claims be asserted first in arbitration and then in court litigation?  Once again, different […]

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What Are The Limits Of Competence-Competence For Arbitral Tribunals?

Competence-competence is now a foundational principle of the modern law of arbitration.  According to that principle, an arbitral tribunal is competent to decide its own competence.  In other words, the tribunal has jurisdiction to decide its own jurisdiction.  That principle demands, in turn, that the arbitral tribunal, and not the court, should in the first […]

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An International Commercial Arbitral Award Is Enforced Even Though It Provided No Reasons

In Canada, the obligation of a tribunal to give reasons has become one of the hallmarks of justice.  But do arbitrators have an obligation to give reasons?  Not if the parties agree that no such reasons need be given and the arbitration is an international commercial arbitration conducted pursuant to the UNCITRAL Model Law.  That […]

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How Correct Does An Arbitrator Have To Be?

What margin of error does an arbitrator have?  Should an arbitral tribunal’s decision be set aside if it is legally incorrect?  Or should a wider deference be shown, so that a decision will only be set aside if it is unreasonable, or perverse? And how detailed does an arbitral decision have to be? Can it […]

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Remember Rainy Sky: The Commercially Sensible Interpretation Prevails

Every once in a while, an important decision comes along which should be put in your hip pocket so that it can be pulled out when needed.  Rainy Sky S.A. v. Kookmin Bank is such a decision.  In this decision, the U.K. Supreme Court (formerly the House of Lords) recently held that if there is […]

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Can An Arbitration Claim Be Dismissed For Delay?

Does an arbitral tribunal have authority to dismiss an arbitration claim for want of prosecution?  Some arbitration statutes expressly state that a tribunal has the power to do so.  Absent such an express power, the British Columbia Court of Appeal has held that the tribunal has no inherent authority to do so:  Premium Brands Operating […]

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