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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 2015

Legal brief
Can I be financially eligible for legal aid if my spouse is not? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
The Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services will consider you and another person to be spouses in the following three cases:

  1. You and the other person are married and you are living together;
  2. You and the other person are living together more
I have a judgment awarding me custody of my child — can my former spouse object to me moving out of town? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Judgments awarding custody are intended to provide children with stability. Therefore, there must be proof of significant changes before a court will intervene to modify such judgments.

In our day and age, relocations are common and may result from a number of situations, including a job oppo
How to avoid the resiliation of your lease for failure to pay the rentThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
When you sign a residential lease with a landlord, your primary obligation as a tenant is to pay your rent in full when it is due. The law states that a tenant must pay his rent the first of every month, unless otherwise agreed upon with the landlord.(1) It is possible to agree with the l more
Breathalyzers and impaired facultiesThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Offences related to driving under the influence of alcohol are probably the ones most likely to affect the « ordinary » person, that is, someone without a criminal past. Unfortunately, these offences can have serious consequences which the public does not always fully grasp.

If a police officer stops you in connection with an offence related to driving under the influence of alcohol and has reasonable grounds to believe that your blood alcohol level is above the legal limit, he can order you to come with him to the police station to provide a breath sample into an approved breathalyzer machine. If the police officer only suspects that you have committed such an offence, he can order you to immediately submit to a roadside screening test on a portable device. If you fail this test, he will then have reasonable grounds and will order you to come to the police station with him.

Regardless of the order given to you by a police officer, the failure to comply with that order constitutes a separate offence which could have more harmful consequences than the charge of driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit. Thus, as a general rule, it is preferable to comply with the police officer's order. It is easier to have a court set aside the results obtained following an illegal order than it is to defend yourself against a charge of failing to comply with an unlawfully given order.

In all cases, the arresting police officer will read you your rights, primarily the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer. The right to consult a lawyer, at no cost and regardless of your financial situation, is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is therefore important to consult a lawyer as soon as the police give you the opportunity to do so. The lawyer will be able to properly explain the scope of your right to remain silent and advise you about the rest of the procedures.

Is it important to remember that in the event of repeat offences, the Criminal Code provides for minimum prison sentences and the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec imposes very severe driver’s licence suspensions.

In conclusion, if at some point in time you are wondering whether you are fit to drive or you are counting the number of drinks you've had, this is generally a good indication that you have had too much alcohol to be driving. The decision whether or not to drive should be made before your judgment is impaired by alcohol. After all, the best defence against a charge of impaired driving is the one you don't have to present because the offence was never committed in the first place.

Legal brief *
June/July  2015
Number  06
Text prepared by   Me Xavier Jean-Gagnon,avocat au bureau d’aide juridique d’Alma
* 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.
What exactly is the Social Security Tribunal?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
On April 1, 2013, a new tribunal was created in Canada—the Social Security Tribunal—which falls under federal jurisdiction. It replaced the following four administrative tribunals: the Board of Referees, the employment insurance umpires, the Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security review tribunals, more
I am a victim of spousal violence or sexual assault - can I terminate my residential lease? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Yes. Under the Civil Code of Québec,(1) a tenant can resiliate (terminate) his residential lease if, due to the violent behaviour of a spouse or former spouse, or due to sexual aggression, even by a third party, the safety of the tenant or a child living with the tenant is threatened.

Free or low-cost legal aidThis hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
You may be granted free legal aid if your income, property and liquid assets do not exceed the eligibility scale provided for in the Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services and the Regulation respecting legal aid.

Even if you are above the elig
Is shared custody in the best interests of your child? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
For the majority of parents who are in the process of a separation or divorce, custody of their children is often their primary concern. How can their children’s time be managed best so that they can spend as much of this precious commodity with their children? more
© Commission des services juridiques Création: Diane Laurin - 2017