Supreme Court


Conflict of Laws

FOREIGN JUDGMENTS

Ontario courts had jurisdiction to determine if foreign judgment should be recognized

As result of exploration and extraction activities of global oil companies, Ecuador suffered extensive environmental pollution. Plaintiffs, who represent approximately 30,000 indigenous Ecuadorian villagers, have been seeking legal accountability and financial and environmental reparation for alleged harms caused by Texaco’s former operations. Texaco later merged with Chevron, a U.S. corporation. Ecuadorian courts awarded environmental damages and punitive damages of US$9.51 billion against Chevron but Chevron refused to acknowledge or pay. Plaintiffs commenced action for recognition and enforcement of Ecuadorian judgment in Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Plaintiffs served Chevron at head office in California and Chevron Canada, at extra-provincially registered office in British Columbia and place of business in Ontario. Plaintiffs sought Canadian equivalent of award resulting from Ecuadorian judgment. Chevron and Chevron Canada applied for orders setting aside service ex juris, claiming that court did not have jurisdiction. Motion judge ruled in plaintiffs’ favour with respect to jurisdiction and Court of Appeal upheld finding that Ontario courts had jurisdiction to determine whether foreign judgment should be recognized and enforced in Ontario. Chevron’s appeal dismissed.

Chevron Corp. v. Yaiguaje (Sep. 4, 2015, S.C.C., McLachlin C.J.C., Abella J., Rothstein J., Cromwell J., Karakatsanis J., Wagner J., and Gascon J., File No. 35682) Decision at 235 A.C.W.S. (3d) 373 was affirmed.  256 A.C.W.S. (3d) 583.

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