Haaretz.com, et al. v. Mitchell Goldhar
(Ontario) (Civil) (By Leave)
Private international law - Choice of forum, Forum non conveniens, Applicable law.
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Private international law – Choice of forum – Forum non conveniens – Applicable law – Libel action commenced in Ontario over an article published by an Israeli newspaper in print and on its websites – Motion to stay the action on the basis that Ontario courts lack jurisdiction simpliciter or, alternatively, that Israel is a clearly more appropriate forum – What are the limits, if any, to a Court assuming jurisdiction over an alleged libel on the internet simply because it is downloaded by somebody in Canada? – Further, under what circumstances, if any, can the presumption of jurisdiction be rebutted in cases of internet libel? – How should the principle of forum non conveniens apply to internet libel, in order to “temper the consequences of a strict application of the rules governing the assumption of jurisdiction” and have proper regard for the impact of these rules on freedom of expression? – Should the place of “most substantial harm” rather than lex loci delicti apply to determine the applicable law in defamation actions?
The applicant Haaretz, Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, published an article criticizing the management style and business practices of the respondent Mitchell Goldhar. Mr. Goldhar is a Canadian businessman who owns Maccabi Tel Aviv Football Club, a soccer team based in Tel Aviv. The article was available in print and on the newspaper’s Hebrew and English-language websites. Mr. Goldhar commenced a defamation action in Ontario against the newspaper, its former sports editor and the author of the article alleged to be defamatory. Haaretz moved to stay the action, arguing that Ontario courts lack jurisdiction simpliciter or, alternatively, that Israel is a clearly more appropriate forum.
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