Banks and other financial institutions often pursue parties from jurisdiction to jurisdiction to obtain and enforce judgments against them. Two pieces of legislation recently brought into force in B.C. make it easier and less costly to do so.
The Enforcement of Canadian Judgments and Decrees Act, S.B.C. 2003, c. 29 (the "ECJDA") and the Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act, S.B.C. 2003, c. 28 (the "CJPTA") both came into force on May 4, 2006.
The ECJDA provides a party with the right to register money judgments and orders granting injunctions and declarations made in a civil proceeding by a court of a province or a territory of Canada other than B.C. for the purposes of enforcement. With the ability to register orders granting injunctions and declarations, this Act broadens the types of Canadian judgments capable of registration and enforcement in B.C., as only money judgments can be registered and enforced under the Court Order EnforcementAct, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 78. The ECJDA also allows a creditor to register and enforce a Quebec judgment, which is not permitted under the Court Order Enforcement Act, because Quebec is not a reciprocating jurisdiction under that Act.
Defences to registration available under Part 2 of the Court Order Enforcement Act, for instance, that the original court acted without jurisdiction, or the judgment debtor would have had a good defence if an action were brought on the judgment, are not available under the ECJDA. As a general rule, a creditor seeking to enforce a Canadian judgment under the ECJDA should face no substantive or procedural barriers except those that govern the enforcement of judgments of the B.C. courts.
The CJPTA establishes when B.C. courts have territorial competence over persons, presumptions regarding the existence of a real and substantial connection between B.C. and the facts on which a proceeding is based, and factors a court must consider when deciding whether it or a court outside of B.C. is the more appropriate forum in which to hear a proceeding. The legislation also provides the Supreme Court of British Columbia with the power to transfer a proceeding to a court outside B.C. or accept a transfer from a court outside B.C. This latter power will make it easier and less costly for a plaintiff to pursue a defendant in a more appropriate jurisdiction.
The ECJDA and CJPTA are modelled after the Uniform Enforcement of Canadian Judgments and Decrees Act and the Uniform Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act prepared by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada. The goal of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada is to have each jurisdiction in Canada use the same rules with respect to enforcement of Canadian judgments, court jurisdiction and transfer of a proceeding.
To date, Saskatchewan is the only other Canadian province or territory with its own equivalents to the ECJDA and CJPTA. Manitoba has brought into force an equivalent of the ECJDA, but not an equivalent of the CJPTA. It is expected that soon other provinces and territories will enact their own equivalents, leading to a pan-Canadian treatment of these jurisdiction and enforcement issues.
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