Alberta – court has no jurisdiction to extend statutory time limit in which to seek leave to appeal award

Alberta’s Court of Appeal in Allen v. Renouf, 2019 ABCA 250 upheld a chambers judge’s decision to dismiss an application for leave to appeal on the basis that the court had no jurisdiction to extend a statutory time limit set out in the Arbitration Act, RSA 2000, c A-43.  The arbitrator’s reserve of jurisdiction to issue a costs award did not suspend or add to that time period to challenge the earlier award on the merits.  Case law also distinguishes calculating delays based on the ‘date of the decision’ and the ‘making of the decision’ and should apply with equal merit to delays applicable to arbitration awards.

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Alberta – court exercises contractual grant of discretion to refuse stay because proper for summary judgment

In Obsidian Energy Partnership v. Grizzly Resources Ltd, 2019 ABQB 406, Master J.T. Prowse, Q.C. referred exclusively to the parties’ arbitration agreement to exercise discretion and refuse a stay because the dispute was a proper one for summary judgment.  The contractual terms mirrored section 7 of Alberta’s Arbitration Act, RSA 2000, c A-43 but Master Prowse made no reference to the legislation in refusing to stay the litigation.

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Alberta – arbitrator’s findings in award have no probative value or binding effect if award set aside

In Flock Estate v. Flock, 2019 ABCA 194, Alberta’s Court of Appeal overturned a chambers judge’s order which had allowed an arbitral party to reuse material from an arbitration in which the final award had been set aside.  Such an award was “ineffectual”, reflected only the “personal opinions” of the arbitrator and had no probative value.  Once set aside, the award did not serve to “crystallize” the interests of the parties or serve to create any issue estoppel.

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Alberta – records subject to solicitor-client privilege and involving arbitration proceedings subjected to court review

In Alberta (Municipal Affairs) v. Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner), 2019 ABQB 274, Mr. Justice Steven N. Mandziuk examined records relating to arbitration proceedings in regard to which one party claimed solicitor-client privilege. Mandziuk J. demonstrated the process that will apply to such records if and when brought before the court.  His reasons set out the appropriate test for determining whether privilege exists, the practical manner in which the court will receive those records and how the courts must consider them on a document-by-document basis.

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Alberta – even after limitation period expires to initiate arbitration, court applies exceptions to deny stay

In Fath v. Quadrant Construction Ltd, 2019 ABQB 151, defendant petitioned to stay litigation against it only after the limitation period expired in which plaintiff could initiate mandatory arbitration.  Master W.S. Schlosser noted that a court lost its supervisory jurisdiction to stay if arbitration was no longer viable because its jurisdiction was over the arbitration and not the lawsuit.  Acknowledging that granting  a stay effectively barred plaintiff’s claim against defendant and faced with a divided approach in the case law, Master Schlosser opted to consider the exceptions to stay set in Section 7(2) of the Arbitration Act, RSA 2000, c A-43.  As an alternative, he also considered defendant’s waiver and attornment as further sources of the court’s jurisdiction to preserve the litigation.

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