Renvoi: Lex Situs Conflictus

Canadian Conflict of Laws Blawg by Seva Batkin

Posts Tagged ‘standard of review’

Standard of Review of Jurisdiction Decisions in Ontario

Posted by Seva on April 22, 2008

Quick note about a decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Visram v. Chandarana. This was an appeal from a Master’s order dismissing a motion to stay the action on the ground that Ontario is forum non conveniens. Molloy J., after engaging in a principled analysis, concluded that decisions of Masters on jurisdictional questions deserve the same deference as those made by judges, and are subject to the same standard of review, imported from Equity Waste Management of Canada Corp v. Panorama Investment Group Ltd.:

What is important for this appeal is the kind of error that justifies intervention by an appellate court. An error of law obviously justifies intervention. An appellate court may interfere with a finding of fact if the trial judge or motion judge disregarded, misapprehended, or failed to appreciate relevant evidence, made a finding not reasonably supported by the evidence, or drew an unreasonable inference from the evidence.

The rest of the decision is not particularly eventful as Malloy J. confirmed that the Master correctly concluded that the defendants attorned to the court’s jurisdiction by filing a statement of defence, and that he also correctly considered the real and substantial connection test (based on Muscutt) and the forum non conveniens factors (based on Amchem).

Update: As Mr. Antonin Pribetic has very insightfully pointed out, this decision is also interesting because it affirms that attornment to the court’s jurisdiction eliminates the need to establish RaSC, thus making the court’s subsequent analysis effectively obiter. While this may be technically correct, the future persuasiveness of this decision may have been enhanced if the court considered the attornment-based jurisdiction and the Muscutt factors-based jurisdiction in the alternative, finding that in this case jurisdiction simpliciter could be established in either way.

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