Lepine v. Canada Post: Ironing Out the Wrinkles in the Inter-Provincial Enforcement of Class Judgments
The Advocates' Quarterly, Vol. 34, p. 499, 2008
18 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2009 Last revised: 8 Oct 2009
Date Written: September 27, 2009
Later this year, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear argument in the case of Lépine v. Canada Post, on appeal from the Québec Court of Appeal. The case raises several pivotal issues surrounding the enforceability of national or multi-jurisdictional class judgments. First, on what basis can a court assert jurisdiction over a purported member of the plaintiff class who does not reside in the adjudicating forum? Second, how do the doctrines of lis pendens and forum non conveniens affect the recognition of class judgments? Finally, when can recognition of a judgment be refused on the basis that the plaintiff class has been denied natural justice or procedural fairness owing to inadequate notice? The Supreme Court will have the additional challenge of answering these questions within the framework of the Québec Civil Code (C.C.Q.), while appreciating that the decision will have implications for class action practice across the country. This comment does not aim to provide a thorough academic discussion of the intricate issues of the case, but rather to highlight the relevant considerations that may inform the Court’s thinking. The issue of the interprovincial enforceability of class judgments is of critical significance to litigants. It is hoped that the Supreme Court uses Lépine as an opportunity to sort out some of the vexing questions posed by the existence of multi-jurisdictional classes.
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