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Legal Information/ Legal Briefs

Legal Briefs

Until 2010, these legal briefs provide examples of judgments pertaining to everyday situations. Beginning in 2012, they deal with various topics of general interest, such as rental issues, family law, human rights, civil liability, insurance, dealings between spouses and social aid. They are intended to inform and to prevent undesirable situations.


Legal Briefs 2009

Legal brief
As a result of my automobile accident, I no longer have any income This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.


For two years, the claimant had held employment with a mining drilling company. He worked on call when the company required him to work. For more than six months, he had been working on a cycle of 28 consecutive days on the company’s job site, followed by 14 consecutive days of more

I filed a lawsuit in Small Claims Court This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
You filed a lawsuit in the Small Claims Court. You were told that you could not be represented in Small Claims Court by a lawyer, yet the other party is represented by a lawyer who is an employee of the company. Can a lawyer represent his employer in Small Claims Court? more
Do my actions give rise to criminal liability? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
When a person commits an act that has the effect of damaging property, the person will not always be criminally liable as a result, even if the act, on its surface, is wilful.


The accused was separated from her husband who had a new spouse. At nightfall, she wen more

I am being held in custody at my parent’s house This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Your youngster has been arrested following serious charges and the court is of the opinion that, for the public’s protection, he should be held in custody in a reception centre. Can he be placed in the care of a responsible person? more
Am I dangerous due to my mental state? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Ambulance attendants came to my house and took me to the hospital although I refused to go. Upon my arrival, the doctors refused to let me leave and they decided to keep me there even though I was firmly opposed to being hospitalized. Can I be kept in the hospital against my will? more
My child was injured in the park This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Your child is injured while playing in a municipal park. Can the municipality be held responsible? more
Do I have to repay my social assistance payments? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
As a recipient of individual social assistance, can you act as a sponsor for your partner or your children so they might immigrate to Quebec? more
I was fired following a strike This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
You’ve been working in the public service for a number of years. Your union wins a strike vote and several days later, the strike begins. Your employer then fires you for having participated in an illegal strike. Are your union and your union representative responsible for your dismissal? more
I was injured while playing golf This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
While taking part in a golf tournament you were hit in the forehead by a golf ball as you were getting ready to make your tee shot on the 11th hole. Can the golfer whose ball hit you be required to compensate you for the damages you suffered? more
My coat is missing This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
After you have been seated at a restaurant, the waiter asks you to check your coat. At the end of the evening, your coat is missing. Can you make a claim against the restaurant for the value of your coat? more
My vehicle has been damaged This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
You leave your automobile with a garage owner for repairs. Your car is damaged while in the garage’s parking area. Is the garage owner responsible for the damages to your car?


In May 2003, a woman drives her car to a garage to have some repair work done. She parks it properly in the appropriate space and leaves the keys with the attendant. During the day, someone from the garage calls to inform her that the left rear side of her car has been damaged. The client indicates that the damage was not there at the time she parked her car and handed over the keys. It would seem that the damage was caused during the time the garage had custody and control of the vehicle. The cause of the damage, however, is unknown. The client claims the sum of $465 from the garage, which is the cost of repairing the damage. The garage owner claims that the client should take the matter up with her insurer. Further, he points to the exclusion of liability clause which appears on the back of the work sheet and which was signed by the client.


Is the garage owner responsible for the damages to the vehicle?


The claimant’s claim is granted. The garage owner must pay the client for the cost of the repairs in the sum of $465.


The Tribunal dismisses the garage owner’s argument which is based on the exclusion of liability clause on the back of the work sheet signed by the client. The judge considers that the clause is abusive because it departs from the essential obligations of the automobile repair contract and puts the consumer at a disadvantage in a way that is excessive and unreasonable. Further, the clause is printed in very small type. It is “illegible” within the meaning of the law because one must make a concerted effort to locate and read it. The Tribunal also rejects the argument related to the obligation of the client to contact her insurer. The damages were caused to the car while in the garage parking area. The cause of the damage cannot be ascertained on the basis of the evidence, however. The judge indicates that because it cannot be concluded that two vehicles were involved, it is not possible to apply the Québec Automobile Insurance Act. The client is not therefore required to make a claim with her automobile insurer. Finally, the judge declares that the Québec Automobile Insurance Act obliges the owner of an automobile to have liability insurance for damages caused to others, not for damages that he or she might experience. The garage owner was obliged to return the vehicle in the same condition that he received it in, that is, without damage to the left rear side. He would not have been held responsible had the damages been caused by an Act of God, an unpredictable or unavoidable event, which was not demonstrated.

ReferencesBrunelle v. 9124-5704 Québec inc., Court of Québec, Small Claims Division (C.Q.) 505-32-016287-030, February 26, 2004, Judge: C. Chicoine (J.E. 2004-812; www.jugements.qc.ca)
Automobile Insurance Act, (R.S.Q., Chapter A-25), sections 115, 116, 173.
Civil Code of Québec, (L.Q. 1991, c. 64), sections 1436, 1437.

Legal brief *
May  2009
Number  09
Text prepared by   Le jugement dont il est question dans cette chronique a été rendu en fonction des éléments de preuves soumis au tribunal. Chaque situation est particulière. Dans le doute, nous vous suggérons de consulter un avocat de l’aide juridique. / The jugement discussed in this article was rendered based on the evidence submitted to the court. Each situation is unique. If in doubt, we suggest you consult a legal aid lawyer.
Update by   Commission des services juridiques
* The information set out in this document is not a legal interpretation.
The masculine is used to designate persons solely in order to simplify the text.
My neighbour is harassing me This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Your relationship with your neighbour is tense. You think that he is harassing you and overstepping his property rights. What are the limits with respect to property rights? more
I've been badly injured This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
You go to a snow slide and rafting centre with your children. During a run, you are badly injured. Is the sliding centre responsible? more
My home has hidden defects This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
You purchase a house. After you move in, you realize that it has major defects. Can you cancel the purchase? more
Am I responsible for my partner's debt?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Your partner dies while engaged in a contract of suretyship (endorser). As the universal legatee (heir), are you responsible for your partner’s debt? more
My child has been injured This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
When leaving school one day, your five-year-old is injured by ice falling from the roof of a building. The building is adjacent to the only road leading to the school; the school has access to the road by virtue of a servitude granted to the School Board. Who is responsible for the damages in thi more
© Commission des services juridiques Création: Diane Laurin - 2017