The April 2016 “Panama Papers” leak highlighted the attraction for transnational actors of the confidentiality available in certain offshore financial centres. Some of these jurisdictions have laws that make it a criminal offence for banks to disclose information about their clients, providing powerful protection for individuals and corporations who wish to keep their financial affairs private. However, if a bank becomes involved in Canadian proceedings, those foreign laws may conflict with the disclosure obligations imposed on litigants here. These situations raise questions about when foreign law can provide a basis to excuse production, or to refuse the answering of a question, in a Canadian proceeding, and under what circumstances a Canadian court will compel disclosure despite potential foreign legal jeopardy.

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