Jurisdiction; Canada

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The Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act might easily have been two statutes rather than one. There could have been a pair of uniform acts, one delineating the territorial competence of the provinces’ superior courts and the other implementing a regime for the cross-border transfer of court proceedings. After all, these two matters are neither logically interdependent nor especially tightly linked. Part 3 of the CJPTA, dealing with transfers of proceedings, is not confined to lawsuits where the initial court takes jurisdiction under Part 2. It applies regardless of whether the initial court bases its jurisdiction on the CJPTA or on some other legislation, such as a specialized family law statute. Indeed, it applies when the transferring court does not have territorial competence at all. While the matters dealt with, respectively, in Parts 2 and 3 of the CJPTA certainly fall within the broad domain of private international law, they are no more closely affiliated than other fields where the CJPTA’s progenitor, the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (“ULCC”), elected to deal with matters in discrete statutes. For example, the ULCC chose to address cross-border enforcement by drafting separate uniform acts dealing with recognition of (1) Canadian civil judgments, (2) foreign-country civil judgments, (3) international arbitral awards, (4) foreign subpoenas, (5) foreign maintenance and custody orders, (6) foreign child welfare orders, and (7) foreign judgments based on a contract containing an exclusive forum-selection clause. In short, the ULCC has not been in the habit of drafting sweeping, comprehensive uniform acts but rather has elected to advance in increments. It has been a splitter, not a lumper.

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