American-based title insurers do not practise law or provide legal opinions when drawing up, registering and discharging refinanced mortgages, the Quebec Court of Appeal held in a legal battle that pitted the insurers against the governing bodies of the Quebec legal and notary professions.
The governing bodies of the Quebec legal and notary professions lost a suit against American-based insurers after Quebec Superior Court held that they did not overstep their bounds in preparing, registering and discharging mortgages on real estate.
In an eagerly-awaited decision that highlights the growing impact of technology on the legal profession, Justice Chantal Chatelaine held that insurers that offer title insurance do not practice law, do not provide legal opinions, and do not prepare or draw up mortgages.
“The importance of the case has to do with the obstacles which can be put in the way of modernization and efficiency,” remarked Simon Potter, Ad. E., a Montreal lawyer with McCarthy Tétrault LLP who successfully plead the case on behalf of FCT Insurance and First Canadian Ltd, part of the global company FAF International.