Hitachi Maxco Ltd v. Dolphin Logistics Co.

In Arbitration/Jurisdiction Clauses in Maritime Law, Stays of Proceedings on (Updated )

This was a motion by the defendants for a stay of proceedings. The main issue was whether an admiralty action instituted in Canada in personam by two foreign corporations against four foreign corporations for the loss of cargo shipped from one foreign port and intended for discharge and delivery in another foreign jurisdiction should be stayed in favour of the jurisdiction stipulated in the bill of lading. The Court noted that there is no geographical limitation on the subject matter jurisdiction of the Federal Court and that it did not matter that the goods were not shipped from or to a Canadian port. The Court further noted that one may always institute an admiralty action in Federal Court that has absolutely no connection with Canada provided the defendants were served in Canada. The issue, the Court said, is whether it should maintain the jurisdiction or refer the matter to another court. The Court reviewed the authorities and the evidence and ultimately held that the defendants had not proven that there was a more convenient forum. The absence of evidence from the defendants was a significant factor in the decision.