By: Nigel Bankes
PDF Version: Decision of the High Court of Australia of Interest to Canada’s Energy Bar
Decision commented on: Electricity Generation Corporation v Woodside Energy Ltd,  HCA 7
In this majority decision the High Court of Australia (HCA) concluded that the obligations of a seller under a gas purchase agreement (GSA) to use “reasonable endeavours” to provide the purchaser with a supplemental maximum daily quantity of gas (SMDQ) in addition to an agreed maximum daily quantity of gas (MDQ) did not require the seller to provide any gas at the SMDQ price when market opportunities emerged which afforded the seller the opportunity to sell all its available production beyond MDQ at a much higher price. While any case such as this turns on the particular language of the GSA in question, including the surrounding circumstances known to the parties and the commercial purpose or objects to be secured by the agreement, the case serves as a reminder that terms such as “best efforts” or “reasonable endeavours”, at least when viewed in the self-seeking paradigm of contract, may not offer much comfort to the counterparty in this sort of commercial arrangement.
PDF Version: What does Fearn v Canada Customs add to OPCA jurisprudence?
Case commented on: Fearn v Canada Customs, 2014 ABQB 114 (CanLII)
The leading case on Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument (OPCA) litigation is the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench decision of Justice John Rooke in Meads v Meads, 2013 ABQB 571 (CanLII) (summarized here). In Fearn v Canada Customs, Justice W A Tilleman very deliberately builds on Meads and develops the court’s responses to OPCA litigants in two ways. First, Fearn sets out guidelines for awarding costs against OPCA defendants in criminal proceedings, a context in which costs are very rarely awarded (at paras 113-139). Second, Fearn adds to what Meads had to say about when OPCA concepts and litigation strategies might amount to contempt of court, whether civil or criminal contempt (at paras 140-256). In this regard, Justice Tilleman identifies some OPCA strategies which, in and of themselves, are prima facie civil contempt. He also urges the use of criminal contempt prosecutions against some of the activities of OPCA “gurus”, i.e., those who sell instructional material and training in OPCA schemes.
By: Evaristus Oshionebo
PDF Version: Unilateral Mistake in Integration: When is Rectification an Appropriate Remedy?
Case commented on: Johnson v Moody, 2014 ABQB 80
A written contract may be executed by the parties on the basis of a unilateral mistake as to a term or terms of the contract. For example, the parties may reach an oral agreement but the terms of the oral agreement may not be accurately recorded in the written contract signed by the parties. This type of mistake, usually referred to as ‘mistake in integration’, may be remedied by an order of rectification particularly where the non-mistaken party’s attempt to take advantage of the written contract would amount to fraud or the equivalent of fraud. As discussed subsequently, a mistake in integration occurred in Johnson v. Moody, a recent decision of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.
By: Maria Lavelle
PDF Version: Worth the Wait – New Estate Administration Act Introduced
Legislation commented on: Bill 4, Estate Administration Act, Second Session, 28th Legislature, 63 Elizabeth II (2014)
In an earlier post, I indicated that the Government of Alberta was likely to introduce new estate administration legislation in the Fall term. Although the original timing estimate was off, new estate administration legislation has now been introduced and, as of the date of this blog, is adjourned in Third Reading.
By: Geoff Costeloe
PDF Version: Orders for Genetic Testing: Is the Genie Out of the Bottle?
Case commented on: Adacsi v Amin, 2013 ABCA 315
A recent decision at the Alberta Court of Appeal raises a major issue in personal injury jurisprudence. Adacsi v Amin, 2013 ABCA 315, is a precedent setting ruling that allows for the forced collection of a blood test for the purpose of determining the existence of a possible predisposition to disease.