Obligation to carry mobile phone does not exist, holds divided appeal court

A divided Quebec Court of Appeal may have opened the door towards a positive obligation to carry a mobile phone when doing physical outdoor activities as a precaution against foreseeable risk or face the possibility of being held to account for a contributory fault, according to experts.

In a ruling that examines the principles of contractual civil liability, a dissenting Quebec Court of Appeal judge held that a mountain biker who sustained injuries after he fell from a chairlift had committed a contributory fault by failing to have a cell phone when he embarked on the lift.

“While it is a dissenting opinion, it will open the door to hold that it is a fault not to have a mobile phone,” remarked Patrice Deslauriers, a law professor at the Université de Montréal who teaches civil liability. “That goes too far. Will I now be obliged to check the status of the battery of the cell phone? We are not yet at a stage in society where we are obliged to carry with us a cell phone.”

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This story was originally published in The Lawyer’s Daily.


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