11.25: Real and substantial connection

Case Summary

Jager Estate (the “Estate”) brought an Action against the Deadmans. The Estate filed the Statement of Claim in Alberta. The Deadmans were permanent residents of Mexico. The Statement of Claim concerned monetary arrangements and loans from John Jager (“Jager”) to the Deadmans prior to Jager’s death. The Estate asserted that Alberta was the proper jurisdiction, whereas the Deadmans argued that the forum conveniens for part, if not all, of the Statement of Claim was Mexico. The Chambers Justice determined that the entirety of the Statement of Claim had a real and substantial connection to Alberta and dismissed the Deadmans’ Application to set aside service.

In considering the standard of review, the Court of Appeal acknowledged that the legal tests for jurisdiction simpliciter and forum non conveniens are questions of law. The determination of either is a question of mixed law and fact which will be accorded deference. The Court noted that the analysis of jurisdiction simpliciter is informed by the existence or nonexistence of presumptive connecting factors enumerated in Rule 11.25(3). The Deadmans had signed promissory notes which stated that Alberta would take jurisdiction over disputes, and thus, the Estate established at least one presumptive connecting factor. Citing Club Resorts Ltd v Van Breda, 2012 SCC 17, the Court found that it would be inefficient to divide the claim, and therefore Alberta was presumptively the jurisdiction simpliciter. The Deadmans failed to satisfy their burden to rebut the presumption.

The Court of Appeal then considered whether it should decline jurisdiction due to the principles of forum non conveniens. The Court refused to disturb the findings of the Chambers Justice and found that Mexico would not be a more convenient forum. The Court dismissed the Appeal.

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