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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?


A woman was insured under a group insurance policy issued by an insurance company in favour of the employees of the business for which she worked. She claimed salary insurance benefits from the insurance company for a period during which she had been absent from work. Her initial claim was for $27,000, an amount she reduced to $7,000 so that her case could be heard in the Small Claims Division of the Court of Québec. She represented herself, given that the law states that a lawyer is not authorized to represent an individual before the Small Claims Court. The insurance company, however, was represented by one of its employees in charge of benefits to its insureds; this employee was also a member of the Bar. The woman felt ill at ease due to the fact that her opponent was a lawyer. The Court, before even hearing the case, had to rule on this preliminary issue.


Could the insurance company be represented by an employee who is a lawyer? Did the Court have to consider the fact that the employee did not perform functions within the company that were related to his training as a lawyer?


The Court refused to recognize the employee of the insurance company as a representative, because he was a lawyer. The insurance company was allowed to designate another representative, namely one of its officers or another person bound exclusively to it under a contract of employment.


The law provides that a business may be represented by a person bound exclusively to it under a contract of employment. The Court reviewed the jurisprudence. It cited certain judgments that had allowed an employee, who was also a lawyer, to represent his employer where, in essence, the employee did not perform duties on behalf of the employer that were related to his training as a lawyer. It cited another line of jurisprudence which leaned towards disallowing such representation. The judge raised several arguments which led him to adopt the second approach. He emphasized the very basis of the Small Claims Court which is intended to be a straightforward and accessible means for the day-to-day management of disputes. He was concerned about creating an imbalance between those parties who cannot be represented by a lawyer and other parties who can be represented by a lawyer, because they are businesses that have the financial resources to have a lawyer on staff. A party might even be dissuaded from availing himself of the small claims procedure if he knows that the interests of the other party will be defended by a lawyer. He also dismissed the approach which would assess, at the beginning of each hearing, the duties performed by the employee in order to determine the extent to which he performs duties related to his legal training, because such an approach would be too cumbersome and would open the door to the possibility of postponements, which would adversely affect the proper administration of justice

Latreille v. L’Excellence compagnie d’assurance-vie, 2008 QCCQ 11395, Court of Québec (Small Claims Division) 500-32-104619-079, November 14, 2008, Judge: David L. Cameron (www.jugements.qc.ca).

Legal brief *
November  2009
Number  18
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.
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? 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