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

Is A Third Party Obliged To Bring Its Claim Under An Arbitration Agreement?

A recurring issue in arbitration law is whether a third party is bound to assert his or her claims by way of arbitration, even though the third party is not a party to the arbitration agreement. In Yaworski v. Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, the Alberta Court of Appeal recently held that, where a limited partnership […]

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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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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 Arbitration Clause Is A Separate Enforceable Agreement

What happens when an arbitration clause is contained within a commercial agreement that one party says never came into existence or is unenforceable? And what if the dispute involves persons who are not parties to the commercial agreement?  Is the arbitration clause still enforceable?  Yes, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently said in Kolios v. […]

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Supreme Court of Canada Holds: Court May Dismiss Action Based On An International Commercial Agreement Even After The Defendant Files A Defence

A very recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada has held that a court may properly dismiss an action arising from an international commercial agreement, even after the defendant has filed a Statement of Defence:  Momentous.ca Corp. v. Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball Ltd.  This decision is important since the contracts in issue […]

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Which Dispute Resolution System Applies – Construction Lien or Arbitration?

Courts have difficulty reconciling the rights of parties to arbitration when there are construction liens, cross claims, counterclaims and third party rights involved.  How can arbitration, which is a bilateral dispute resolution system, resolve those disparate rights?  And what appeal rights are there for the parties who are dissatisfied with a judge’s conclusion that the […]

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The Limitation Period Quagmire Between Litigation and Arbitration

The limitation period is a vexing issue to any party involved in a commercial dispute.  This truism applies even more to construction disputes because there are a variety of events that may trigger the beginning of the limitation period.  The limitation issue becomes even more vexing when the proceeding can be either:  by way of […]

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When Is An Arbitration An International Commercial Arbitration?

Is an arbitration between two domestic companies arising from a contract for a shipment between two foreign countries an “international commercial arbitration” for the purposes of the UNCITRAL Model Rules, particularly if the arbitral agreement requires arbitration in a foreign location?  And if it is, does the domestic court have any residual discretion to stay […]

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Does The Competence-Competence Principle Apply To Third Parties To An Arbitration Agreement?

The competence of an arbitral tribunal to determine its own competence has become firmly rooted in Canadian law.  But what happens when the tribunal has to decide issues which directly affect third parties? In Ontario v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited, the Court of Appeal for Ontario recently held that, in that circumstance, the principle does […]

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