International Comity


27 June 2016


5:00 – 7:00 PM


Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP | 130 Adelaide St W, Suite 2600


Professor Karen Knop, University of Toronto (Chair)

Professor Stephen Pitel, University of Western Ontario (Panelist)

Ren Bucholz, Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP (Panelist)

Tina Lie, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP (Panelist)

Brendan van Niejenhuis, Stockwoods LLP (Panelist)



CPD Hours:

2 Substantive Hours (applicable for LSUC and the Barreau)


Canadian courts rely heavily on the principle of international comity in many different areas of law. For such a consequential principle, there is much confusion about what comity means. This expert seminar will unpack comity across different areas of Canadian law, beginning with its historical development as a legal principle and followed by a series of “snapshots” on different applications of comity:

  • In the assumption of jurisdiction by Canadian courts;
  • In interprovincial and international class actions;
  • In technology- and Internet-based legal wrongs;
  • In restraining foreign application of the Charter;
  • In extradition proceedings;
  • In the granting of foreign sovereign immunity.

The above snapshots will be given by leading advocates with experience litigating comity issues before the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.

This will be followed by a facilitated small-group discussion touching on questions including:

  • Is the principle of international comity applied consistently by courts in different areas of law?
  • Is comity underdeveloped in Canadian law? Is it the same principle in public and private international law fields respectively?
  • Does comity serve any meaningful analytic purpose? Should it be abandoned?
  • Can existing principles of comity accommodate emerging issues in class actions? The Internet?
  • Are courts institutionally competent to evaluate issues of international comity?