Canadian Supreme Court: Claimants May Seek to Enforce Ecuadorian Judgment against Chevron in Ontario

Canada Supreme CourtOn 4 September 2015, Canada’s highest court dismissed arguments by US petrochemical company Chevron that Canadian courts cannot hear proceedings to enforce the US$ 9.51 billion judgment of an Ecuadorian court against it. Chevron Corp. v. Yaiguaje, 2015 SCC 42. The Ecuadorian judgment, which arises from alleged environmental contamination and destruction by Chevron’s predecessor Texaco in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador, has been attacked by Chevron in other fora as a product of corruption and other unlawful practices instigated by the claimants’ attorneys. In the Canadian litigation, Chevron primarily argued that Canadian courts should not and could not hear proceedings to enforce the judgment because the Ecuadorian litigation had no relationship with Canada. In its 4 September judgment, however, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that in such cases,

… the only prerequisite is that the foreign court had a real and substantial connection with the litigants or with the subject matter of the dispute, or that the traditional bases of jurisdiction were satisfied. There is no need to demonstrate a real and substantial connection between the dispute or the defendant and the enforcing forum.

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