Quebec justice minister, judiciary locked in ‘power struggle’ over bilingualism requirements for judges

Barely a week after Quebec Superior Court ruled that the provincial justice minister does not have a say on how the judiciary determines its professional and linguistic requirements, the Quebec National Assembly passed a non-binding motion declaring that unilingual French-speaking applicants should not be barred from applying to become provincial judges.

In the wake of a decision that plainly states that the Quebec justice minister cannot bar bilingualism prerequisites for judicial candidates, the National Assembly adopted without debate and with the support of the four opposition parties a motion that “reiterates the importance of the principle of the State’s exemplary role in protecting the French language” and that “justice is no exception to this important principle.”

Quebec Minister of Justice Simon Jolin-Barrette is also considering amending legislation to prohibit the Court of Quebec from requiring judges to be bilingual in certain judicial districts, stating that “all options are on the table,” including appealing the 71-page decision in Conseil de la magistrature c. Ministre de la Justice du Québec, 2022 QCCS 266.

Continue reading “Quebec justice minister, judiciary locked in ‘power struggle’ over bilingualism requirements for judges”

Quebec man “returned” from his “legal” death

Sometimes a person who has been legally declared dead is not dead.

In a remarkably rare turnabout, a Canadian insurer successfully convinced Quebec Superior Court to annul a judicial declaration of death of a Montreal man who disappeared in 2008 after reliable signs of life were uncovered, freeing it of its obligation to pay $500,000 in life insurance.

“There is not much that has been written about such cases because they are exceptional,” noted Josianne Gelfusa, a Montreal notary with D & G Notaries, who co-wrote a chapter on absence and death for the book Droit des personnes physiques (Law of natural persons). “So there is not much case law to assist judges.” Continue reading “Quebec man “returned” from his “legal” death”

Mandatory retirement clauses breach Quebec Charter, rules court

Professional services firms that have mandatory retirement policies and provisions that require partners to divest their ownership shares solely on the basis of age are discriminatory and in breach of the Quebec Charter of human rights and freedoms held Quebec Superior Court in a ruling that has the legal community buzzing over its implications.

In a case that pitted a Montreal municipal and labour and employment law firm against its founder, the decision by Quebec Superior Court Justice Stéphane Lacoste is expected to have wider repercussions than the thorny issue of mandatory retirement, according to legal observers. Following the decision in DHC Avocats inc. c. Dufresne, 2022 QCCS 58, typical arrangements made by professional services firms in succession planning such as “unpartnering” or changing the status of their senior partners while still allowing them to work in the firm may be called into question, added legal experts. Continue reading “Mandatory retirement clauses breach Quebec Charter, rules court”

Mixed reaction over Quebec’s proposed youth protection reform

The Quebec government, following up on a report that cast a critical eye on the province’s youth protection system, has tabled a proposed legislative reform that underlines and clarifies the notion of the best interests of the child as well as introduces new provisions to take into account the historical, social and cultural factors of Indigenous people.

The reform will also relax strict confidentiality provisions that have hampered communication between frontline workers and other healthcare professionals, reaffirms that children must be represented by an advocate, and entrusts the newly created position of National Director of Youth Protection with the responsibility of determining policy directions and practice standards, buttressed with the power to implement “corrective” measures.

Continue reading “Mixed reaction over Quebec’s proposed youth protection reform”

Questions remain over Quebec’s GPS electronic tracking project for domestic violence offenders

Barely a month after a Quebec coroner recommended that people convicted of murdering their partners be compelled to wear electronic tracking devices when released from prison, the provincial government announced that some conjugal violence offenders could be ordered to wear tracking bracelets beginning next spring.

Continue reading “Questions remain over Quebec’s GPS electronic tracking project for domestic violence offenders”

Justiciability a major hurdle for climate change lawsuits, assert legal experts

A proposed climate change class action suit by a Montreal environment group against the federal government was denied certification by the Quebec Court of Appeal after it held that it was not justiciable, the latest in a series of climate change litigation cases that have been thwarted by the justiciability doctrine, prompting questions over the successful viability of using broadly framed Charter arguments in climate justice suits in Canada.

Continue reading “Justiciability a major hurdle for climate change lawsuits, assert legal experts”

Quebec appeal court serves timely reminder over linguistic rights

Less than a year after delivering a stinging rebuke to the Quebec government over recurring systemic unmitigated delays in securing trial transcripts that disproportionately affect English-speaking appellants, the Quebec Court of Appeal served a timely reminder over the importance of linguistic rights after it ordered a new trial for a convicted drug trafficker whose right to be tried in English was violated.

Continue reading “Quebec appeal court serves timely reminder over linguistic rights”