Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Lexology
The British Columbia Court of Appeal recently confirmed that customary international law may be used as a basis to seek damages from B.C. companies alleged to have acquiesced in human rights abuses in foreign jurisdictions. The decision in Araya v. Nevsun Resources Ltd., 2017 BCCA 401 ("Araya") is a novel and significant step in the development of "transnational law" that could expand the scope for liability for corporations conducting resource development projects abroad.
This decision bears some similarity to the B.C. Court of Appeal's decision earlier this year in Garcia v. Tahoe Resources Inc., 2017 BCCA 39, in which a group of miners was permitted to seek damages against a Canadian company for alleged wrongs that occurred at a Guatemalan mine. Both decisions are part of the increasing number of lawsuits against Canadian parent companies for the conduct of their foreign subsidiaries, which is a topic that has been previously discussed in our prior posts to this blog in Canadian Companies and the Effects of Foreign Operations, Court Refuses to Hear Corporate-Veil Case, and Dodging the Corporate Veil.
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