Chevron at the Supreme Court of Canada: The Saga Continues
Corporate responsibility, international environmental and human rights law, sustainable development and indigenous law (Chevron Corp v Yaiguaje)
On September 4, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Chevron Corp v Yaiguaje 2015 SCC 42. The unanimous judgment, written by Justice Gascon, has been seen as a victory for the plaintiffs (respondents, representing 30,000 indigenous Ecuadorean villagers), as the litigation over the recognition and enforcement action was not dismissed from Canadian courts due to a lack of jurisdiction. Instead, litigation will likely continue in Ontario courts for many years to come over whether or not the Ecuadorean judgment against Chevron for oil pollution in the Lago Agrio region can be recognized and enforced in Ontario.
There are numerous contentious issues in this recognition and enforcement litigation, which is aimed as securing a remedy for environmental pollution in the notorious Chevron/Ecuador dispute that has festered in courts and international arbitral bodies all over the world for decades (not least of which, eventually, are the allegations that the judgment was fraudulently obtained). Among key issues for the Canadian litigation are those that relate to the relationship between Chevron Corporation (incorporated in Delaware, US) and Chevron Canada (incorporated in the Canadian province of Alberta, with a presence in Ontario). The Ecuadorean judgment is against Chevron (US), yet, it (arguably, see below) has no presence or assets in Canada. On the other hand, Chevron Canada clearly has a presence and assets in Canada, but was not part of the Ecuadorean proceeding and so (arguably) no outstanding judgment against Chevron Canada exists to be recognized and enforced.
Sara Seck, “Chevron at the Supreme Court of Canada: The Saga Continues” (11 September 2015), online (blog): lcbackerblog < http://lcbackerblog.blogspot.com/2015/09/sara-seck-on-chevron-at-supreme-court.html> [perma.cc/A33S-FVQ9].