A. Paschos K. Katsikopoulos S.A. v. The “Polar” et al.

In Admiralty Practice, Stays of Proceedings on (Updated )

This was an application to strike out the Statement of Claim because the Plaintiff had commenced an earlier action in Greece involving the same parties or, in the alternative, to stay the proceedings on the basis of forum non conveniens. The court was also requested to review the amount of the security that had been provided by the Defendants to obtain the release of the “Polar” from arrest. The application to strike on the basis of lis pendens was not granted because the Plaintiff was prepared to withdraw its action in Greece in favour of maintaining its action in Canada alone. However, the Court did order that the action be stayed on the grounds that there was no connection between any aspect of the litigation and Canada other than the temporary presence of the vessel in Canada. This order was subject to the condition that the letter of credit in place in relation to the Canadian litigation be maintained and amended to include payment of any judgment that may emanate from the Greek courts. Finally, regarding the amount of security, the Court declined to interfere because the bond reflected an amount sufficient to cover the reasonably arguable best case of the Plaintiff together with interest and costs.

As a preliminary motion to the application to strike out the Statement of Claim, the Defendant sought to strike out the Plaintiff’s affidavits because the notary public who took the affidavits failed to comply with the requirements of Greek law, the law of the place where they were taken, as to the terms and conditions that ought to surround the administration of oaths to affiants. Even on the assumption that the Defendants were right in their criticism of the work performed by the Greek notary public, it did not follow that the affidavits should be struck. There was no evidence of any collusion between the affiants and the notary public with a view to contravening the requirements of Greek law. The record indicated that at all relevant times the affiants wished to file some allegations that they considered true and, “within the context of [his] residual discretion”, the Prothonotary considered this to be the essential thing. To strike out the impugned affidavits owing to deficiencies attributable to the notary public would, in the circumstances, be akin to elevating form over substance, and this the Prothonotary refused to do.