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Quebec Court Applies 10-Year Limitations Period to Foreign Arbitral Awards

Jonathan N Eades

Quebec Court Applies 10-Year Limitations Period to Foreign Arbitral Awards
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In Itani v. Société Générale de Banque au Liban SAL, 2022 QCCA 920, the Québec Court of Appeal (Schrager, Moore, and Kalichman JCA) considered the limitation period for recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award rendered outside Québec. The court applied the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Yugraneft Corp. v. Rexx Management Corp., 2010 SCC 19, confirming that recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award is governed by the rules of procedure applicable in the territory in which the application is made―so it differs from province to province. The court of appeal considered the applicable provisions of the Québec Civil Code and ruled that the application to recognize and enforce the arbitral award was subject to a 10-year limitation period.

Although the court recognized that an arbitral award is not a judgment because it does not emanate from the power of the state and is not “directly enforceable,” it held that the word judgment, as used in the Québec Civil Code  provisions, must be read as including a foreign arbitral award.

Practice Point

Attorneys seeking to enforce an arbitration award in Canada need to pay attention to the limitations period of the territory in which the application for enforcement is made and to how the Canadian courts have interpreted the applicable statutory language. Here, for example, the word judgment was deemed to include foreign arbitral awards even though the court recognized that such awards normally would not be considered judgments.