A colleague tipped me off today to the Supreme Court of Canada’s April 2 decision in Canada Post Corp. v. Lépine, 2009 SCC 16. In that case, Canada’s high court upheld a lower court decision limiting the reach of a settlement class action filed in Ontario, purportedly on behalf of all residents of Canada other than residents of British Columbia. The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision was an appeal from the Court of Appeal for Quebec, arising from a competing, parallel class action filed on behalf of Quebec residents. The Quebec court had refused to recognize the validity of the Ontario court’s judgment approving the settlement in that case.
The high court’s ruling:
- offers an analysis of the “Legal Framework for the Recognition of External Judgments,” including issues of comity in evaluating the binding effect of a judgment in one province on residents of another province,
- discusses the concept of forum non conveniens in the context of national class actions,
- addresses issues of proper class notice in multi-jurisdictional settlements, and
- comments on problems of national class action settlements in Canada in general, including the need for communication and cooperation between trial courts in different jurisdictions and the need for intervention by provincial legislatures in creating a more comprehensive framework for national class actions.