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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 went to the marina where her former spouse, his brother and the new spouse each had a boat. The watchman, who knew her, let her in.
She climbed aboard a 27-foot sailboat that had been re-christened “Folie d’été” and whose owner was the new spouse of her former husband. She leaned over the railing and affixed a piece of masking tape on the “i” so that it now looked like an “l”.
The new spouse noticed the change and contacted the police who, a few days later, came to see what had happened.
When the masking tape was removed, part of the “i” came off, because the glue had probably adhered to the letter when drying in the sun, which caused the damage.


In the circumstances, the court had to answer the following question: “Was a criminal offence committed?”


The court acquitted the accused of the offence, because the prosecution did not prove the wilful element of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.


Only the complainant testified in order to state that the letter “i” had been damaged. She was insulted by the label “folle d’été” [summer nutcase] by which the couple was known following the incident.
In order to be convicted of mischief under section 430(1) (a) of the Criminal Code, a person must have damaged property wilfully (the material component is the damage and the intentional component is the likely knowledge that damage will occur).
The evidence showed that there had been an alteration of the lettering perpetrated against private property during the trespassing on the complainant’s boat (the material component of the offence was proved).
As for the intent to cause damage, it exists when, in carrying out an act, the person knows that he will probably cause damage and is reckless as to whether or not the incident occurs.
The tape used by the accused to conceal the “i” is a tape routinely used by painters to outline the surfaces to be painted and is not supposed to damage those surfaces.
It is undoubtedly because the tape remained in place for several days in the sun while awaiting the police that part of the lettering was damaged when the tape was removed.
The court concluded as follows: [TRANSLATION] “The court is not convinced that when the accused affixed the tape, she knew that the lettering would be damaged or that there was a probability it would be damaged when the tape was removed; in addition, the court is not convinced that she was reckless in this regard.”


R v. Robertson, 2008 QCCQ 156, Court of Québec, Criminal and Penal Division (C.Q.) Hull 550-01-021547-064, January 10, 2008, Judge Jean-François Gosselin (J.E. 2008-376; www.jugements.qc.ca)Criminal Code, s, 430(1) (a)

Legal brief *
November  2009
Number  17
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.
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? 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