In this case, the British Columbia Supreme Court declined
jurisdiction in a proceeding in which the plaintiffs sought to hold
a parent company responsible for the actions of its subsidiary.
Seven Guatemalans commenced an action in British Columbia
against Tahoe in connection with an alleged shooting that took
place at Escobal mine (a gold, silver, lead and zinc mine) in
Guatemala. The plaintiffs claim they were shot at close range by
security personnel while peacefully protesting outside the mine
gates. The mine is owned by a Guatemalan subsidiary of Tahoe. Tahoe
itself has its headquarters in Nevada, but is registered in British
Tahoe conceded that the B.C. Court had jurisdiction
simpliciter, but argued that jurisdiction should be
declined on the basis that Guatemala is clearly the more
The Court agreed. Among other factors, the Court considered the
greater inconvenience and expense required to litigate in B.C. due
to the evidence being in Guatemala and Nevada, that all of the
plaintiffs resided in Guatemala, and that none of the plaintiffs
speak English. The Court also found a risk of duplicative
proceedings because there was a related criminal prosecution
underway in Guatemala. The plaintiffs argued, relying on Choc
v. Hudbay Minerals Inc.,1 that their cause of
action against Tahoe directly could not be advanced in Guatemala.
Although the Court agreed that was a factor weighing in favour of
accepting jurisdiction, it ultimately declined jurisdiction, noting
the importance of proceeding cautiously in finding that a foreign
court is incapable of providing justice to its own citizens.
1. In Choc v. Hudbay Minerals Inc., 2013 ONSC
1414, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice declined to strike a
pleading, which alleged that a Canadian parent company was liable
in negligence for failing to prevent alleged human rights abuses.
See Mining in the Courts, Vol. IV.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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