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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 2017

Legal brief
Shared custody, so no support to pay? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Raphaël and Maude lived together without being married and a child, Alice, was born from their relationship. When Alice was only 3 years old, her parents separated. Raphaël moved not far from the daycare and, after some discussion, the parents agreed to share custody of Alice equally. Maude agreed t more
Police Chases (What You Need to Know) This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
At the beginning of the year 2000, section 249.1 was added to the Criminal Code, creating the offence of fleeing a police chase while driving a motor vehicle. 

The following are the elements that make up this offence: 

  • The accused must be driving a motor vehicle;  more
What is a quarrelsome litigant?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Jeanne is the mother of a three-year-old girl, Amélie. She decides to consult a legal aid lawyer in order to get a judgment granting her custody of her minor child and fixing rights of access for the father, given that he exercises his rights of access very sporadically. 

George, the child’s father, receives the pleadings on a Thursday afternoon. In response to these pleadings, he decides to seek shared custody of his daughter. 

The trial takes place and the mother is awarded custody of her daughter. The father obtains rights of access every weekend from Friday evening to Sunday evening. Since he did not get shared custody of his daughter, George sends new pleadings to the mother. In the new pleadings, he asks that the judgment awarding custody to the mother be modified. The trial takes place and he loses. He files an appeal and subsequently loses the appeal. The fact that George multiplied proceedings in a short period of time means that he can be said to be a quarrelsome litigant. For example, a father who, within a period of five months (from July 23 to December 15, 2015) introduced 17 judicial proceedings, including a complaint to the judiciary and a complaint to the syndic of the Bar, was considered by the court to be a quarrelsome litigant. 

How is this type of conduct characterized? 

This type of conduct is referred to as querulousness. Querulousness is defined as the thirst for justice by an individual who exercises his right to take legal action in an abusive or unreasonable manner. The term “vexatious” is also used to refer to a litigant who abuses his right to go to court or seeks to harm others. 

The courts have identified a number of characteristic traits that point to querulousness. They include the following: 

• First, a quarrelsome litigant is stubborn and narcissistic; 

• Second, he is usually the plaintiff rather than the defendant; 

• Third, he multiplies vexatious proceedings, including against those within the legal system. In fact, it is not uncommon for these proceedings and complaints to be directed against lawyers, court personnel, or even judges themselves, who are accused of bias and unethical behaviour; 

• Fourth, he often repeats the same argument via additional supplemental   proceedings that seek the same result despite numerous previous failed attempts; 

• Fifth, his legal arguments are both inventive and inappropriate. While theyhave the appearance of being legal arguments, they border on the irrational; 

• Sixth, the repeated failure of these multiple recourses ultimately results in his inability to pay the legal costs he has been ordered to pay; 

• Seventh, he appeals or applies for the revocation or judicial review of most, if not all, of the decisions rendered against him; 

• Eighth, he represents himself. 

What can be done to prevent this type of behaviour?

The law makes it possible to ask that an individual be declared a quarrelsome litigant. Once an individual has been declared a quarrelsome litigant, he is prohibited from instituting a judicial application unless he obtains the authorization of the Chief Justice or a judge designated by the Chief Justice and unless he complies with the conditions the Chief Justice or the designated judge determines.

This framework was established in order to filter out abusive litigants. It is important to understand that the legal provisions are intended to provide a framework for access to justice, not to prevent access to the courts, so as to preserve the integrity of the justice system. 

The register of quarrelsome litigants is accessible on the website of the Ministère de la Justice du Québec at :


Legal brief *
August-September  2017
Number  06
Text prepared by   Me Erika Aliova
* 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.
Are childcare expenses taken into consideration in determining financial eligibility for legal aid? This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Isabelle, a victim of abuse who has one child, is accused of murdering her former spouse. Isabelle works as a nurse’s aide in a hospital at an annual salary of $27,000. She does not own any real estate and has no savings. However, she has to pay $1,250 in annual childcare expenses for more
Youth Criminal Justice Act and Extrajudicial Sanctions This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Ethan, who is 12 years old, is visiting his cousins with his parents. While his parents are playing cards with his uncles and aunts, Ethan takes the opportunity to play various games in the basement with his two cousins, Sam and William, who are 6 and 8 years old, respectively. After more
Georges owns a house and has money in his bank account. Is he financially eligible for legal aid?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
George is married to Theresa and they have four minor children. George works as a part-time employee for a transportation company. Theresa is a teacher and also works part-time. They have a combined annual gross income of $35,000. George and Theresa own their family residence, which has a value of $ more
« You can't search me! » really ?This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
Contrary to what many people believe, in certain circumstances, school staff can search a student or his personal belongings (such as his knapsack or locker). There are two main reasons for this. First, a school has the obligation and responsibility to protect the students who attend the school, so more
Am I liable for my pet This hypelink opens a PDF file in a new window.
In principle, yes. In Québec, it is the Civil Code that deals with harm caused by a pet’s actions. The article of the Civil Code is very clear to that effect and the rules for pet owners are strict.

Whether the situation involves an injury, such as a bite, or other damage ca
© Commission des services juridiques Création: Diane Laurin - 2017