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John H. Currie, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

Craig Forcese, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

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Thursday
Aug042011

Extraterritorial Liability and MNCs: Forum non conveniens in Quebec

By Craig Forcese

Cross-referencing: Ch. 9, pp. 675 et seq.

In Association canadienne contre l'impunité (ACCI) c. Anvil Mining Ltd., the Quebec Superior Court rejected an effort by Anvil to dismiss a civil suit brought against the company relating to killings by Congolese soldiers in 2004.  At issue (in part) in this April 2011 decision was whether the Quebec court should decline jurisdiction to hear the case on the basis of forum non conveniens.  The latter, a common law doctrine incorporated into the Quebec civil code, permits a court to decline to hear a case better adjudicated in another jurisdiction.  It has been the stumbling point for at least some lawsuits brought against Canadian multinational companies concerning their overseas operations.  In Anvil, however, the court held that the test was whether the company had shown that a foreign jurisdiction was clearly the more appropriate venue to hear the case.  Anvil was unable to do so, and the court therefore dismissed Anvil's dismissal request.  The matter is now on appeal.