SCC Overturns OCA in Haaretz.com v. Goldhar, Stays Ontario Defamation Action

- 2018-06-06 -

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court has overturned the result reached in the Ontario Court of Appeal (and the court of first instance) and stayed an Ontario defamation action in favour of Israel as the most appropriate forum.

CIPPIC intervened in the case, and was represented by CIPPIC Director David Fewer and co-counsel Professor Marina Pavlovic and Professor Jeremy de Beer.  CIPPIC's intervention focused on access to justice, forum shopping concerns, and technological neutrality.

The dissenting justices, Chief Justice McLachlan (as she then was) and Justices Moldaver and Gascon, picked up on CIPPIC's access to justice arguments in their forum non conveniens analysis:

[215] While the plaintiff in this case is wealthy, access to justice concerns are implicated when considering fairness, and must be considered. For many non-wealthy plaintiffs, being denied access to the courts of a particular jurisdiction — typically their home forum — means being denied justice altogether. In those cases, fairness would weigh even more heavily in favour of the plaintiff’s choice of forum.