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

Can An Arbitration Award Be Set Aside For Unreasonableness?

If an arbitration agreement states that there is to be no appeal from the award under the agreement, can a party seek judicial review on the ground that the award is unreasonable?  In Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, [2008] 1 S.C.R. 190, the Supreme Court of Canada set out a comprehensive analysis for the judicial review […]

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Six Points To Consider Before Commencing An Arbitration

On October 10, 2012, I gave a speech at an Advocates’ Society program.  The program was  entitled Arbitration is the New Black.  My presentation focused on seven issues which should be addressed when a party is contemplating the commencement of an arbitration. Starting the arbitration seems like the easiest thing in the world.  After all, […]

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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 Does An Arbitral Limitation Period Commence?

An arbitration is usually considered to be a less formal type of dispute resolution than court litigation.  For this reason it may be thought that less formal rules about limitation periods apply to arbitrations.  If you had this impression, then the recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Penn-Co Construction Canada (2003) Ltd. […]

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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 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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No Appeals From Arbitrator’s Interim Decision Unless It Is A Final Order

The Ontario Court of Appeal has recently considered whether any appeal may be taken from a decision of an arbitral tribunal which is made prior to the final award. The Court held that no such appeal may be taken from such a decision, except if the decision amounts to a “final” order.  The decision appears […]

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Same Court, Different Results: When Does The Limitation Period Start For An Arbitration Claim?

When does the limitation period start for an arbitration claim?  Can the very making of the demand start the period running?  Yes, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently said in Federation Insurance Co. of Canada v. Markel Insurance Co of Canada. In so deciding, the Court of Appeal seems to have reached a conclusion which […]

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