Canada: Supreme Court Of Canada Addresses Recognition, Enforcement Of Foreign Judgments In Chevron Case

In a much anticipated ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has released its decision in Chevron Corp. v. Yaiguaje, addressing recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. The SCC unanimously held that for a Canadian court to have jurisdiction over an action to recognize and enforce a foreign judgment, the only prerequisites are: that the foreign court had jurisdiction, on the basis of a real and substantial connection to the defendant or with the subject matter of the dispute or on a traditional basis such as presence or consent of the defendant; and that the enforcement claim is properly served. There is no need for a "real and substantial connection" between the subject matter of the foreign dispute and the province in which recognition and enforcement is sought (in this case Ontario).

Given the facts of the case, the SCC did not decide the corporate veil issues posed by the lower court decision but instead left those issues to be determined at a later stage.


The appeal related to an action commenced in 2013 in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by 47 Ecuadorian residents seeking recognition and enforcement of a US$9.51-billion judgment rendered against Chevron Corporation (Chevron Corp) by an Ecuadorian court. In addition to naming Chevron Corp (a United States domiciled corporation) as a defendant, the plaintiffs also named Chevron Canada Limited (Chevron Canada), a seventh-level indirect subsidiary of Chevron Corp.

Chevron Corp and Chevron Canada brought a preliminary motion to set aside service and dismiss the claim or, in the alternative, permanently stay the action on the grounds that the Ontario courts did not have jurisdiction simpliciter. The motion judge held that the Ontario court did have jurisdiction. However, on his own initiative, the judge stayed the enforcement action. With respect to Chevron Corp, the judge found that the company owned no assets and conducted no business in Ontario. As for Chevron Canada, while it operated a place of business in Ontario, the judge held that there was no legal basis for piercing Chevron Canada's corporate veil. Consequently, in the motion judge's view, there was no prospect for any recovery in Ontario and to allow the action to proceed would be "an utter and unnecessary waste of valuable judicial resources."

On appeal, the Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld the motion judge's decision that the Ontario courts had jurisdiction over the enforcement action, but overturned the lower court's stay. With respect to Chevron Corp, the Court of Appeal held that jurisdiction was established on the basis that the Ecuadorian court had a "real and substantial connection" with the defendant or the subject matter of the dispute. With respect to Chevron Canada, jurisdiction was established on the basis of its business presence in Ontario and its "economically significant relationship" with Chevron Corp. The appeal decision raised concerns that a concept of enterprise liability may have been introduced into the law of recognition and enforcement in Ontario: see our December 2013 Blakes Bulletin: My Parent's Keeper? Enforcement Action Allowed to Proceed Against Parent, Subsidiary Corporations.


The SCC dismissed the appeals of Chevron Corp and Chevron Canada. The SCC held that in an action for recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment, jurisdiction stems from service of the claim being effected on the basis of a foreign judgment rendered in the plaintiff's favour and against the named defendant. The SCC noted that where the foreign court had jurisdiction (on the basis of a real and substantial connection with the litigants or with the subject matter of the dispute, or on one of the traditional bases of jurisdiction, such as consent or presence), there is no need to demonstrate a real and substantial connection between the dispute and the enforcing forum. In the SCC's view, to conclude otherwise would undermine the important values of order and fairness that underlie all conflicts rules. The SCC held that this approach is consistent with previous decisions that have stated that the doctrine of comity "must be permitted to evolve concomitantly with international business relations, cross-border transactions, as well as mobility." On the basis of the foregoing approach, the SCC concluded that the Ontario courts have jurisdiction over Chevron Corp in the action.

As for Chevron Canada, the SCC held that the Ontario courts had jurisdiction over it on the basis of traditional presence-based jurisdiction (because Chevron Canada was carrying on business in Ontario at the time the action was commenced). Given this finding, the SCC was not required to consider the fundamental principle of corporate separateness and the applicable test for piercing the corporate veil.

The SCC went on to make it clear that its determination that the Ontario courts have jurisdiction over both Chevron Corp and Chevron Canada does not mean that the plaintiffs will necessarily succeed in having the Ecuadorian judgment recognized and enforced. The SCC noted that a finding of jurisdiction still permits defendants to argue that the courts should decline to exercise jurisdiction on the basis of forum non conveniens, to argue that the proper use of judicial resources justifies a stay, or to raise any one of the available defences to recognition and enforcement (e.g. fraud, denial of natural justice, or public policy).

With respect to the arguments concerning whether Chevron Canada's assets are potentially exigible to satisfy Chevron Corp's obligations under the Ecuadorian judgment, the SCC stated that its ruling regarding jurisdiction should not prejudice future arguments with respect to the distinct corporate personalities of Chevron Corp and Chevron Canada. Such issues are to be addressed following any jurisdictional determination.


In terms of recognition and enforcement proceedings, this decision will likely shift the battleground away from jurisdictional challenges to other preliminary motions such as for a stay, to strike, or for summary judgment. 

Given that the corporate veil issues raised in this case remain to be decided on another day, this case remains one to be watched.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
23 Nov 2018, Other, Toronto, Canada

Cybersecurity, including data privacy and security obligations, has become a critical chapter in every company’s risk management playbook.

28 Nov 2018, Speaking Engagement, Toronto, Canada

Arbitration has a number of advantages and some disadvantages for the resolution of domestic and international commercial disputes.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions