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  • 2023 Seminars

    VMAA has hosted a number of seminars recently. This included a seminar by our director, Peter Swanson, in July 2023 entitled “Waybills vs. Bills of Lading: the Recent Canadian Legal View”. This seminar was largely focused on a 2022 Federal Court judgment (Arc-En-Ciel Produce Inc. v. BF Leticia (Ship), 2022 FC 843) in which the court affirmed the view that a waybill is not governed by s. 46 of the Marine Liability Act – noting that a waybill is also not subject to the Hague-Visby Rules – meaning any waybill that contains an arbitration clause (not typical) or a forum selection clause (fairly typical) will likely be enforced. Mr. Swanson noted that many common law countries have enacted legislation that subjects a waybill to the Hague-Visby Rules.

    Our director, Ms. Diana Torrens, presented on “The interaction between maritime arbitration and EU law” on Thursday November 30th 2023 at 12:00pm. Again this was a very insightful presentation that provided a unique perspective on the interplay between maritime arbitration and European Union law. Ms. Torrens is uniquely placed to provide this very interesting and useful seminar, having worked with the EFTA Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg for many years.

    More recently, Jenna Anne De Jong, a partner with the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright in Montreal gave a presentation on January 25, 2044 on “Navigating the procedural differences between arbitration and litigation in Court: How the rules of evidence and other practices vary with Arbitration.” This was an extremely useful seminar for everyone, but particularly our arbitrating members as it provided useful insights into evidentiary issues that can arise in the context of an arbitration. As most people will appreciate the strict evidentiary rules that may be applied in a Court do not bind arbitrators, so the manner of introducing evidence in an arbitration is typically less formalistic.

    The VMAA has otherwise been active internationally. Two directors, our president Mr. McIntyre and Mr. Swanson both attended the 22nd International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators (“ICMA”) held in Dubai between November 5 and 10, 2023. ICMA is always well attended by lawyers, arbitrators and others involved in the arbitration process from around the world, and Dubai was no exception. Not surprising given the location of ICMA XXII, there was a large middle eastern presence which made for extremely interesting discussions and presentations. There was also a large presence from Brasil, the last Congress having been held in Rio. Mr. McIntyre was one of the speakers presenting on the “Effect of sanctions on arbitrations and enforceability of awards in Canada”. Mr. Swanson, for his part, moderated the session on “National arbitration issues (Europe, MENA and North America)” which included speakers from Denmark, the USA, and the UAE. All sessions were well attended. ICMA XXII was a great success, having both substantive sessions and a uniquely middle Easter social program that included a very enjoyable desert experience. ICMA XXIII was awarded to Singapore and it is expected they will host an equally insightful Congress.

  • Canada-China Symposium On Hot Issues In International Arbitration Held Online

    Vancouver time 6:30pm on September 14, 2023, and Beijing time 9:30am on September 15, 2023, Canada-China Symposium on Hot Issues in International Arbitration, sponsored by Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association (VMAA) and China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) and co-organized by CIETAC North American Arbitration Center, was successfully held online. 

    The seminar was moderated by Ms. Catherine H. Liang, Executive Vice-President of the VMAA. JJ Mclntyre, President of VMAA, gave a detailed presentation on “Canada Sanctions and The Public Policy Exception To The Enforcement of Arbitral Awards”. Mr. Liao Fan, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Bureau of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, shared “The Latest Development of AD hoc Arbitration In China”. Ms. Shelley Chapelski, Partner of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada, discussed arbitration of anti-corruption related disputes and gave some useful tips and recommendations on “How To Deal With Internal Corruption Investigations In Relation To Arbitrations”. Mr. Cui Qiang, partner of Beijing Finance& Commerce Law Offices, delivered a speech on “Frontier Issues Of The Amendment Of China’s Arbitration Law”.

    During the question-and-answer session, the participants exchanged in-depth views on the issues in China-Canada arbitration practice and speakers answered questions raised by the audience.  

    Mr. JJ Mclntyre, the president of VMAA and Mr. Wang Chengjie, vice president of CIETAC both expressed their willingness of further cooperation and building closer institutional relationships. Mr. Wang addressed that in 2022, CIETAC received a total of 4,086 new cases, of which Canada ranked ninth in the list of foreign-related cases. He pointed out that CIETAC is committed to promoting exchanges and cooperation in international arbitration and the integration and mutual learning of Eastern and Western legal cultures. Mr. JJ Mclntyre, noted that continuing the communication and exchange of information among the international arbitration community would contribute to the further development of global dispute resolution.

  • Canada-China Symposium on Hotspots in International Arbitration held online

    Vancouver time 6:30pm on September 1, 2022, and Beijing time 9:30am on September 2, 2022, “Canada-China Symposium on Hotspots in International Arbitration — The Enforcement of Arbitration Agreements and the Impact of Sanctions on International Arbitration”, sponsored by Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association (VMAA) and China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) and co-organized by CIETAC North American Arbitration Center, was held online as scheduled.

    The seminar was chaired by Ms. Catherine H. Liang, the Vice President of VMAA. Mr. Wang Chengjie, Vice Chairman of CIETAC, delivered the opening speech. Mr. Wang extended a warm welcome to the participants and expressed his gratitude to VMAA. He mentioned that this seminar focuses on the enforcement of arbitration agreements and the impact of sanctions on international arbitration, which is of practical significance. China and Canada enjoy a time-honored friendship with steady growth in bilateral trade and close exchanges in legal, cultural and other fields. He also pointed out that CIETAC is willing to work with the Canadian legal community to promote international arbitration.

    Mr. Peter Swanson, the Founding Partner of Bernard LLP, spoke on the “Enforcement of Agreements to Arbitrate by Canadian Courts: the Curious case of s.46 of the Marine Liability Act”.  Mr. Swanson shared how the enforcement of arbitration agreements by Canadian courts has evolved over the past 25 to 30 years, and how Section 46 of the Maritime Liability Act can affect the enforceability of arbitration agreements to some extent. On the whole, however, the spirit of the Model Law has been well implemented in the practice of the Canadian courts.

    Dr. Jerry Zhang, Director of Beijing Linli Law Firm, shared the “Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitration Agreements in China”. Through cases analysis, Dr. Zhang discussed the application of law, the selection of institutions and jurisdictions. Using the BNA vs. BNB case analysis, he explores the question of whether Chinese or foreign law is applicable when the parties choose a foreign arbitration institution but the arbitration venue is in Shanghai, China. In the recent Brentwood case, which was arbitrated by the ICC in Guangzhou, China, the court ruled that the decision could be applied for enforcement by reference to the foreign-related arbitration award in China. He pointed out that this would open up new prospects for the market of international arbitration institutions to conduct arbitration in China. Download Dr. Zhang’s Presentation.

    Mr. JJ Mclntyre, President of the VMAA, discussed the “Impact of Sanctions on International Arbitration”. In February, the European Union and many other countries announced sanctions against Russian states, Russian entities and individuals for affecting and disrupting global markets. Russian banks were removed from the SWIFT. All of these sanctions inevitably affect the performance of relevant contracts. He described a number of cases of sanctions where parties needed to know whether there was a termination or suspension clause in their contract that could deal with the sanction. When it comes to Force Majeure clauses, Mr. Mclntyre points out that Quebec is a civil law jurisdiction and its Civil Code has Force Majeure clause, while the relative law of the common law would be governed by an exemption of atrocity in cases of Frustration and Non-performance of a contract. For international arbitrators, the need to search for whether the company has been sanctioned is a new challenge.

    Mr. David Gu, a partner of Junhe Law Firm, discussed the impact of sanctions on international arbitration from Chinese perspective. He noted that sanctions could lead to disruptions in international trade and the flow of goods. He referred to a number of legal problems arising from the sanctions affecting international trade and delivery by transport companies, as well as international payments and contract fulfilment. As a country of civil law, China has special clauses on Force Majeure and the Principle of Change of Circumstances. The parties concerned should first consider stating them in the contract, and pay attention to the issues of predictability and the application of the Principle of Fairness. Gu also discussed the arbitrators should consider issues related to sanctions that may affect arbitration, including related procedures, and the enforcement of arbitration awards. Chinese courts pay close attention to and prudently handle cases involving sanctions in practice, he added.

    The seminar concluded with a closing address by Mr. Mclntyre, President of VMAA. He thanked all the speakers and participants, noting that in a world of increasingly frequent sanctions, it is important for peers in the international arbitration community to maintain communication, which promotes mutual understanding and helps us to make better decisions in the dispute resolution process. The symposium concluded successfully. Participants from different industries who are interested in the new issues of international arbitration expressed their concerns and exchange their observations.

  • WMAA CIETAC Canada China Arbitration Law Seminar

    On September 14 (Vancouver time), as part of China Arbitration Week 2021, the China-Canada Arbitration Law Seminar co-hosted by Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association (VMAA) and China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), co-sponsored by the CIETAC North America Arbitration Center was held online.

    The experienced legal professionals, Ms. Catherine H. Liang, JJ McIntyre, Jerry Zhang, Ms. Shelley Chapelski, Tim Meng, and Peter Swanson from the two jurisdictions, discussed some hot issues about “Choosing Vancouver As the Place of Arbitration”, “Historical context: Canada’s adoption federally and provincially of Model Law and the New York Convention”, “To Be a Model Law Country or Not to Be: an Analysis of the New Draft Arbitration Law in China “, “Arbitration Agreements and Their Enforcement by Canadian Courts & Interim Measures of Arbitration in Canada”,  “Arbitrator’s Duty of Disclosure in China” and “Enforcement of Arbitration Awards under Canadian law” respectively. The presentations were live-streamed to companies, institutions and professionals and questions from the online participants were answered directly. The lectures were of practical significance for the understanding of the state and acceptance of arbitration in the two countries.

    Mr. Wang Chengjie, Deputy Director and Secretary-General of CIETAC, delivered an opening speech on behalf of the organizers, saying that the CIETAC North America arbitration Center is active to provide fair, efficient and comprehensive arbitration for parties in Canada, North America and around the world. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Dennis Pong, chairman of VMAA. He delivered the closing remark and emphasized that both of the institutions will further cooperate and jointly promote the integration and development of international arbitration.

  • VMAA Directors Virtual Presentation at the CMAC – 2021

    The seminar was successfully hosted on July 16, 2021, at the China High-Level Dialogue on Maritime & Commercial Arbitration.

    Thank you, Mr. JJ McIntyre and Mr. Peter Swanson for representing VMAA at the CMAC seminar.

  • Resolution 2021

    Our 2021 Resolution featuring articles written by our directors can be viewed below:

  • 2021 VMAA Annual General Meeting

    VMAA hosted the 2021 AGM virtually at noon on June 29, 2021.

    In the AGM, Dennis Pong, President of VMAA reported VMAA activities during the period of June, 2020 to June 2021 including the hosting of a virtual seminar and attending a virtual CIETAC Cup held in Beijing in November, 2020 as a warm up on the William C. Vis International Arbitration Moot. Mr. Pong also mentioned VMAA has published the 2021 Resolution, an VMAA magazine and is in the process of mailing to the members by the secretary.

    Mr. JJ McIntyre, Vice President and treasurer reported on the financial which is in healthy condition due to less expenses and advertisement income.

    Mr. John Young, Secretary of the Association reported on the membership situation and suggested that VMAA should promote more commercial expert as well as legal profession to join the membership. Membership including Arbitrating member, Individual Supporting member and Corporate Member. Mr. Young suggested that VMAA should start a membership drive starting in the 2021 fall session.

    In the AGM, VMAA has nominated Ms. Lindsay Sutton of Pangea Logistic to be an Arbitrating member. VMAA also nominated two new directors to the board, they are Ms. Lindsay Sutton of Pangea Logistic and Ms. Shelley Chapelski of Norton Rose & Fulbright.

    The 2021 VMAA board is as follow:

    Officers

    Dennis Pong                       President

    JJ McIntyre                         Vice President & Treasurer

    John Young                         Secretary and Membership

    Directors

    Alex Smith

    Catherine Liang

    David Read

    Geoff McNeill

    Lindsay Sutton

    Peter Koh

    Peter Swanson                  Past President

    Shelley Chapelski

    In addition, both Peter Wright and Daryl Raibl are Honorary Life President

  • CIETAC to set up Arbitration Centre in Vancouver

    CIETAC establishes presence in Vancouver

    On July 1, 2018 CIETAC (China International Economic Trade & Arbitration Commission) officially registered in Vancouver to set up an Arbitration Centre. The organization held a signing ceremony co-hosted by the Vancouver Economic Commission, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, Victoria, British Columbia representative Mr. Hon. Bruce Ralston, Minister of State for Trade Mr. Hon. George Chow, Deputy Consul General of Consulate General of the PRC in Vancouver, Mr. Kong Weiwei, Commercial Counselor of Consulate General of the PRC in Vancouver, Yu Shanjun, along with Chairman of the Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association, Dennis Pong. There were about 160 people in attendance, including representatives from the provincial government, legal experts, heads of large Chinese enterprises and commercial organizations along with industry members who had traveled from overseas. The following day on July 2, 2018, the CIETAC delegation visited the VMAA at Bernard LLP. They met with Mr. H. Peter Swanson, Bernard LLP partner, Alex Smith, VMAA Arbitrator, Dennis Pong, President of VMAA and other legal practitioners. The groups discussed the prospect of establishing Vancouver as a prominent centre for arbitration in North America — so that it is seen as a major centre for resolving both commercial and maritime dispute in Canada and the US. Mr. Dennis Pong welcomed the establishment of CIETAC North America Arbitration Center in Vancouver and extended congratulations on the organization’s successful landing ceremony.
  • VMAA holds joint seminar with CMAC and signs Cooperation Agreement

    VMAA and CMAC host a seminar and sign a Cooperation Agreement

    The VMAA held a joint Seminar on May 14th, with delegates visiting from the Chinese Maritime Arbitration Commission. Over 30 attendees from within the maritime and insurance industries attended this comprehensive seminar: Dr. Chen Bo presented on Maritime Arbitration in China (Deputy Secretary-General & VP | China Maritime Arbitration Commission) Wang Guohua presented on Revision and Improvement of Maritime Conflict Rules in the Maritime Code of China (Dean | Shanghai Maritime University Law School) Zhang Xubo presented on General Average in China (Board Chair | Beijing Ren Xiang Insurance Surveyors) Cui Qiang presented on Impact of Compulsory Laws on the Allocation of Risks in a Sale of Goods Contract (Partner | Beijing Commerce & Finance Law Office) Xu Huilin presented on Marine Insurance & Arbitration in China (General Manager | Tianan Property Insurance Company) John McIntyre | Legal Treatment of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Partner | MW Law Offices) Peter Swanson | Mechanics of the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Partner | Bernard LLP)   Following the seminar,  CMAC and VMAA held a ceremony for signing the new CMAC-VMAA Cooperation Agreement. Previously, CMAC and VMAA signed a Cooperation Agreement in May 2012, based on the shared concept of establishing fair arbitration procedures and highlighting the importance of arbitration within the global shipping industry. Both organizations have engaged in joint seminars over the past few years, allowing VMAA members and others from within the shipping industry to learn more about arbitration and economic trade in other notable centres outside of Vancouver. The CMAC-VMAA Cooperation Agreement marks an important cornerstone for both groups, with the goal of facilitating enhanced trade and cooperation between China and Canada within the maritime industry.
  • VMAA holds joint seminar with CMAC and signs Cooperation Agreement

    VMAA and CMAC host a seminar and sign a Cooperation Agreement

    The VMAA held a joint Seminar on May 14th, with delegates visiting from the Chinese Maritime Arbitration Commission. Over 30 attendees from within the maritime and insurance industries attended this comprehensive seminar: Dr. Chen Bo presented on Maritime Arbitration in China (Deputy Secretary-General & VP | China Maritime Arbitration Commission) Wang Guohua presented on Revision and Improvement of Maritime Conflict Rules in the Maritime Code of China (Dean | Shanghai Maritime University Law School) Zhang Xubo presented on General Average in China (Board Chair | Beijing Ren Xiang Insurance Surveyors) Cui Qiang presented on Impact of Compulsory Laws on the Allocation of Risks in a Sale of Goods Contract (Partner | Beijing Commerce & Finance Law Office) Xu Huilin presented on Marine Insurance & Arbitration in China (General Manager | Tianan Property Insurance Company) John McIntyre | Legal Treatment of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Partner | MW Law Offices) Peter Swanson | Mechanics of the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Partner | Bernard LLP)   Following the seminar,  CMAC and VMAA held a ceremony for signing the new CMAC-VMAA Cooperation Agreement. Previously, CMAC and VMAA signed a Cooperation Agreement in May 2012, based on the shared concept of establishing fair arbitration procedures and highlighting the importance of arbitration within the global shipping industry. Both organizations have engaged in joint seminars over the past few years, allowing VMAA members and others from within the shipping industry to learn more about arbitration and economic trade in other notable centres outside of Vancouver. The CMAC-VMAA Cooperation Agreement marks an important cornerstone for both groups, with the goal of facilitating enhanced trade and cooperation between China and Canada within the maritime industry.
  • VMAA holds joint seminar with CMAC and signs Cooperation Agreement

    VMAA and CMAC host a seminar and sign a Cooperation Agreement

    The VMAA held a joint Seminar on May 14th, with delegates visiting from the Chinese Maritime Arbitration Commission. Over 30 attendees from within the maritime and insurance industries attended this comprehensive seminar: Dr. Chen Bo presented on Maritime Arbitration in China (Deputy Secretary-General & VP | China Maritime Arbitration Commission) Wang Guohua presented on Revision and Improvement of Maritime Conflict Rules in the Maritime Code of China (Dean | Shanghai Maritime University Law School) Zhang Xubo presented on General Average in China (Board Chair | Beijing Ren Xiang Insurance Surveyors) Cui Qiang presented on Impact of Compulsory Laws on the Allocation of Risks in a Sale of Goods Contract (Partner | Beijing Commerce & Finance Law Office) Xu Huilin presented on Marine Insurance & Arbitration in China (General Manager | Tianan Property Insurance Company) John McIntyre | Legal Treatment of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Partner | MW Law Offices) Peter Swanson | Mechanics of the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Partner | Bernard LLP)   Following the seminar,  CMAC and VMAA held a ceremony for signing the new CMAC-VMAA Cooperation Agreement. Previously, CMAC and VMAA signed a Cooperation Agreement in May 2012, based on the shared concept of establishing fair arbitration procedures and highlighting the importance of arbitration within the global shipping industry. Both organizations have engaged in joint seminars over the past few years, allowing VMAA members and others from within the shipping industry to learn more about arbitration and economic trade in other notable centres outside of Vancouver. The CMAC-VMAA Cooperation Agreement marks an important cornerstone for both groups, with the goal of facilitating enhanced trade and cooperation between China and Canada within the maritime industry.
  • Joint ICS VMAA Seminars

    Report on 3rd Joint I C S / V M A A Luncheon Presentation 11th October 2017

    The 3rd of a set of three joint educational luncheons was held this past Wednesday (Oct 11th) at the Bentall 5 Board room. Organized by the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS), Canada Branch and the Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association (VMAA). The previous two luncheon presentations heard papers related to Ship Arrest and Maritime Liens, Hanjin bankruptcy impact, Safe berth/Safe port Warranties and Tug/Tow Common Law and Contractual Liability issues. This past Wednesdays two speakers, John (JJ) McIntyre, Partner at MW Law Offices and Jason R. Kostyniuk, Partner at Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang, presented, respectively on the “Effect of inconsistent arbitration terms between CP’s & BL’s,” and “Clean vs. Claused Bills of Lading & Letters of Indemnity.”  Just prior to kicking off, Mr. Karl Wang, Chartering Executive for Pacific Basin Shipping and a Director of the Canada Branch of ICS gave a brief background to the local branch. With everyone having enjoyed delicious sandwiches and beverages, Mr. McIntyre led the charge and presented on the “Effect of inconsistent arbitration terms between CP’s & BL’s.” He started by noting, there is a right to commence action in Canada regardless of what is contained in the contract.  It is, however, difficult to enforce and ultimately would need consent (NY Convention). The case of the “Nicholas A” was quoted.  In this case the Gencon printed form provided for London Arbitration and English law to prevail.   The fixture recap however called for Arbitration in Hong Kong. After the sole arbitrator found in favour of arbitration in London, an appeal to the U.K. High Court overturned the arbitrator and found that the agreed terms of the fixture recap prevailed (Hong Kong) over the printed ‘boiler plate’ of the Gencon charter. Questions were fielded and some ‘sparky’ conversations were enjoyed, with much participation from the 30 strong in attendance. To follow up, Mr. Kostyniuk laid out a well presented power point on “Clean vs. Claused Bills of Lading & Letters of Indemnity.”  He gave a brief history and a recap of the purpose of letters of indemnity (LOI). Letters of indemnity are frequently given in exchange for ‘clean’ bills of lading when ‘clean’ bills of lading are required but could otherwise not be given. Continuing on, Jason advised that issuing clean bills lading under these circumstances would be considered fraudulent and the LOI would be unenforceable.  An owner agreeing to the above would lose their P & I coverage. In other cases, Letters of indemnity can be issued to an owner in exchange for delivery of cargo at the destination when the original endorsed bill of lading is unavailable. This procedure is not condoned by the P & I Clubs but they do provide assistance by way of providing standard form letters and appropriate wording. These letters require bank guarantees which are unlimited in regards to time and value although in subsequent questions it was agreed that commercial pressures make it almost impossible to conclude a fixture which includes the issue of bank endorsed letters of indemnity when bills of lading are unavailable at the discharge port.   After 15 more minutes of thought provoking questions (and answers) the speakers were warmly thanked and presented with the copies of Quality Ashore (A history of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers). A successful event concluded along with a reminder of the ICS DRY BULK & COMMODITIES CONFERENCE, slated for Vancouver on November 16th.   The International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators (ICMA), held in Copenhagen from September 25th – 29th, 2017 and hosted by the Danish Institute of Arbitration, offers maritime arbitrators and lawyers a unique opportunity to examine and discuss the most important issues currently affecting maritime law and the greater shipping industry.  Directors JJ McIntyre, Peter Koh and Peter Swanson are in attendance representing the Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association (pictured above). In addition to functioning as a forum for discussion and showcasing compelling papers within the field, ICMA also provides delegates with the chance to connect socially and network with international colleagues.