Urban Communications Inc. v. BCNET Networking Society

(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)


Arbitration - Appeals.


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Arbitration — Appeals — Commercial arbitration award — Exercising of options under agreement between parties — Arbitrator ruling option exercised — Chambers judge granting leave to appeal and amending arbitrator’s award — Court of Appeal reinstating arbitrator’s award — Whether legal validity of exercise of an option is a question of mixed fact and law because it requires a determination of objective intent of optionee — Whether Court of Appeal erring in law by conflating principles of law for interpretation of contracts and principles of law for formation of contracts — What is test for a Court of Appeal to substitute a decision as to what is a pure question of law for decision of a Supreme Court judge made on the first level of appeal from an arbitration award — Arbitration Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 55, s. 31.

Under s. 31 of the Arbitration Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 55, the arbitrator had to determine whether the respondent BCNET Networking Society properly and validly exercised its options under the agreement between itself and the applicant Urban Communications Inc. The arbitrator ruled in favour of the respondent finding the options had been properly exercised.

The chambers judge granted leave to appeal, allowed the appeal and amended the arbitrator’s award. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and reinstated the arbitrator’s award.