| Contact us @  |   Aa  ⇧ Français         
Click to search
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?


In December 2001, a woman and her friends got together at a restaurant for a Christmas celebration. At first, the woman kept her coat with her, draping it over the back of her chair. During the meal however, the waitress asked the woman to hang her coat up in the cloakroom because it was interfering with her ability to serve the patrons. The customer agreed and hung her coat in the cloakroom herself since there was no attendant on hand. When the woman went to get her coat at the end of the meal, it was gone. The customer made a claim against the restaurant for $530 plus tax, or the estimated value of the coat. The restaurant owner alleges that he is not responsible for the loss of the coat because a notice posted in the restaurant’s cloakroom absolves him of responsibility in the case of theft.


Is the restaurant owner responsible for the loss of the coat?


The claim is granted. The restaurant owner must pay the customer the sum of $530 plus tax, or the value of the coat.


On occasion, Tribunals have compared the fact of leaving one’s coat in a cloakroom to a “contract of deposit” within the meaning of the Civil Code of Québec. The contract of deposit is a contract by which a person hands over a property to another person who agrees to keep it for a certain time and to restore it to the person. The law provides that where the deposit is gratuitous, the person who holds the property is liable for the loss of that property if the loss is his fault. On the other hand, where the deposit is not free, or where it was required by the person holding the property, that person is always liable for the loss of the property, unless he proves superior force. In the case in question, the waitress asked that the coat be checked in the cloakroom because it was interfering with service. The Tribunal considered that because the restaurant owner demanded that the customer check her coat, he was automatically liable for the loss of the item, unless he could prove superior force. In the eyes of the law, superior force is an event that is unpredictable and unavoidable. The Judge considered that the theft of the customer’s property was not a case of superior force in the eyes of the law. In fact, the restaurant owner would have had to demonstrate that measures had been taken to prevent such thefts such as surveillance or claim tags. Because such measures were not taken, the restaurant owner is liable for the loss of the coat. As for the notice disclaiming the restaurant owner’s responsibility, it was posted to the side of the cloakroom. The customer claimed not to have seen the notice because it was hidden by a Christmas tree. In order for the disclaimer to apply, the restaurant owner must prove that the customer was aware of the notice before she hung her coat up, which was not the case. As a result, the restaurant owner is liable and must compensate the customer.

ReferencesGariépy c. 9057-9673 Québec inc., Court of Québec, Small Claims Division (C.Q.) Joliette, 730-32-003610-024, January 24, 2003, Judge: R. Landry, ((2003) R.L. 136; www.jugements.qc.ca)
Civil Code of Québec, (S.Q. 1991, c. 64), sections 1470, 1475, 2289.

Legal brief *
May  2009
Number  10
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 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? more
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